Dinagat congressman gets life sentence

Posted at 04/14/12 4:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr., who has been found guilty of killing his wife Alona Bacolod, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a Cebu regional trial court.

In a 200-page decision issued by Judge Soliver Peras of Cebu Regional Trial Court Branch 10, Ecleo was given a sentence of 20 to 40 years imprisonment and was ordered to pay around P25 million compensatory damages to the family of Bacolod.

Bacolod’s brothers Josebil and Angelito were both present during the promulgation and expressed gratitude over the court’s decision.

Ecleo, who is also head of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, was not present during the promulgation but his lawyer Orlando Salatandre said he is still in the country.

Salatandre, however, said he doesn’t know the exact whereabouts of his client.

He said they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Bacolod’s family, meanwhile, called on the House of Representatives to remove Ecleo from office.

They will also make an appeal to President Benigno Aquino III to assist them and offer a reward for Ecleo's arrest.

The family is also seeking protection from the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. -- Reports from Carine M. Asutilla, Joworski Alipon, Edgar Escalante, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas