FUGITIVE former Dinagat Representative Ruben Ecleo Jr. is now the country’s Most Wanted Person (MWP), police officials said.
Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, spokesman of the Philippine National Police, said members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Intelligence Group (IG) have joined hands in the hunt for the fugitive.
“We continue to gather more information to locate the whereabouts of Ecleo… the CIDG and IG are jointly conducting pursuit operation,” Mayor said.
The CIDG is the primary unit tasked to run after Most Wanted Persons and serve the warrant of arrest.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, CIDG spokesperson, confirmed that Ecleo is now the top MWP but she declined to elaborate on the details of their operation.
Ecleo went into hiding after he was meted a 31-year jail sentence for graft by the Sandiganbayan in 2006. On April 2012, a Cebu City court sentenced Ecleo to life imprisonment for the killing of his wife.
The government has offered a reward of P5 million for any information that could lead to the arrest of Ecleo.
Ecleo was initially included in the top five MWP along with retired Army General Jovito Palparan Jr., Globe Asiatique founder Delfin Lee and former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his younger brother former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.
Labeled “The Butcher” by political activists, Palparan went into hiding in December 2011 when he was ordered arrested by the regional trial court in Malolos, Bulacan province in connection with the 2006 abduction of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
After years of hiding, Palparan was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on August 12, 2014 in Sta. Mesa, Manila,.
The Reyes brothers disappeared in March 2012 after the regional trial court in Puerto Princesa City issued warrants for their arrest in connection with the murder of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.
In September 2015, a tip by email informed officials that the pair was in a resort town on Phuket Island, Thailand. The Thai government was asked to investigate and the brothers were arrested for overstaying their visas. They were deported back to the Philippines to face charges and arrived on September 25, 2015.