Arrested cult leader and former San Jose, Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. was taken to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 5, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed.
“He was turned over to the New Bilibid Prison at 2 p.m. today,” said DOJ Undersecretary Mark Perete who cited a report sent to him by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) spokesman Gabriel Chaclag.
The transfer was made even though the Supreme Court (SC) granted the request of BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag and issued an order which told the courts to temporarily suspend the transfer of convicted persons to BuCor prisons to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“It appears that the Sandiganbayan is not covered by that particular SC order,” said Perete.
Ecleo was the “supreme leader” of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) which was founded by his father in 1965. Ecleo Jr. took over the religious group in 1987 after the death of his father.
He was arrested last July 30 in San Fernando City, Pampanga after having been on the run following his convictions for various crimes.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) intelligence agents arrested Ecleo along with his driver Benjie Fernan using the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan which convicted him of graft charges in 2006 and sentenced him to 31 years in prison.
The case concerns the illegal disbursement of funds involving three construction projects when he was still the mayor of San Jose from 1991 to 1994.
He was also convicted in 2012 of parricide for killing his wife Alona and was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay more than ₱25 million in damages.