REP. Ruben Ecleo Jr. of Dinagat Island in Surigao del Norte has until April 28 to surrender or risk losing his right to have his conviction reviewed or appealed in the higher court.
This was manifested yesterday by the prosecution team before Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras.
While Ecleo has 15 days to contest the court ruling, prosecutors said he first has to submit to the jurisdiction of the court and justify his absence during the April 13 promulgation.
The three-page manifestation was filed by lawyers Kit Enriquez, Alfredo Sipalay, Fritz Quinanola, and Democrito Barcenas.
Ecleo skipped bail and missed three trial hearings before Judge Peras ordered his arrest again.
The congressman, who dropped out of sight after his conviction by the Sandiganbayan on graft charges in 2010, is believed hiding in Dinagat Island, where followers of his religious group are based even as the PNP ordered a manhunt for the fugitive.
“If the accused continues to evade the processes of this honorable court, refuses to surrender, and to submit to its jurisdiction, the law and jurisprudence is clear and unequivocal that he loses the right to seek affirmative relief and remedies from the courts,” said prosecutors.
Ecleo’s lawyer Orlando Salatandre, who said he would appeal the case of his client, was undisturbed.
“Pasagdahi na lang na (Let’s ignore them). We have the rules. Appeal is automatic,” Salatandre told Cebu Daily News over the phone.
Ecleo, the supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), was found guilty of parricide for killing his wife Alona on Jan. 5, 2002.
He was meted a prison term of reclusion perpetua or 20 to 40 years and ordered to pay fines and damages worth P26.3 million. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter