PNP to probe how Ecleo eluded arrest
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — How did former cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. manage to elude a police manhunt for more than eight years?

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa yesterday ordered an investigation into the circumstances that prevented authorities from arresting Ecleo, who was convicted of parricide and sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2012 for killing his wife.

Gamboa cited reports that the former congressman even played golf while he was on the run.

Ecleo was arrested near a golf course in San Fernando, Pampanga on Thursday.

Ecleo, who has a P2-million bounty on his head, is on the most wanted list of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“We wanted to find out what happened. Bakit hindi siya nahuli,” Gamboa said in an interview over dzBB.

The PNP chief clarified that the investigation is not aimed at punishing police units that could have committed lapses in Ecleo’s arrest.

“It’s just for a policy review,” Gamboa said in a text message.

Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office chief, said Ecleo stayed in Quezon City when the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in Luzon.

Sinas said Ecleo managed to evade the police by changing his physical apprearance.

He said Ecleo was also protected by his followers at the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association.

Security measures

The Central Visayas police said it would come up with security measures in preparation for Ecleo’s transfer to face the court that issued his arrest warrant.

Cebu City Judge Soliver Peras ordered Ecleo’s arrest after he was convicted of parricide.

“He is high-profile and a most wanted person. We need to secure him so he won’t escape... He is a very influential person... We need to secure him to ensure that justice will be served,” Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, Central Visayas police director, said.

Ferro said Special Action Force commandos and intelligence operatives of the Central Visayas police might be tapped to provide security for Ecleo.— Ghio Ong, Ben Serrano, Iris Hazel Mascardo/The Freeman

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