CEBU, Philippines — The group Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) has asked the Supreme Court to review the disbarment cases they filed against the two lawyers of the group’s supreme master, Ruben Ecleo Jr.
Atilano Fabella, a retired policeman who leads the PBMA support group, said that last November 20, they filed a manifestation for automatic review of the two disbarment cases they filed against lawyers Orlando Salatandre and Giovanni Mata which were dismissed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
The third disbarment case is still pending before the IBP.
Fabella said the cases were filed on the ground that the two lawyers illegally collected a total of P26,000 from the PBMA members in their Lapu-Lapu City and Talisay City chapters.
He also alleged that the two lawyers fabricated evidence to pin down Ecleo. They allegedly changed the results of the fingerprint matching to make it appear that the fingerprints lifted from the plastic bag containing the body of Alona matched with that of Ecleo’s specimen fingerprints.
Another ground for their case is the infidelity of the two lawyers to defend Ecleo in court.
“Instead of defending the truth as counsel, they hugged falseness. Instead of presenting evidence to prove innocence, they were instruments of maneuvering laws and misguided the courts to make a decision of conviction,” said Fabella.
Salatandre told The Freeman that the third disbarment case against him and Mata was already dismissed by the IBP just recently.
He said that he respects the decision of the PBMA support group in forwarding the case to the SC.
He hopes that the SC will uphold the ruling of the IBP.
“Let the Supreme Court review the findings of IBP. I pray that the SC will uphold the findings of the IBP. Those cases were dismissed because there is no enough evidence,” said Salatandre.
He denied all of Fabella’s allegations. He also said that if he fabricated evidence against Ecleo and did not do his duty as the legal counsel, he would not have exerted effort so Ecleo can post bail.
“I hope they will stop. This is very clear that the IBP found the opposite of what they are claiming,” said Salatandre.
Fabella was the former team leader of the Scene-of-the-Crime-Operation (SOCO) team of the PNP Crime Laboratory in Region 7.
Ecleo was convicted April 13, 2012 to parricide for allegedly killing his own wife, Alona Bacolod Ecleo, in their residence in Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City in 2002.
Judge Soliver Peras sentenced Ecleo to life imprisonment and ordered him Ecleo to pay Alona’s relatives P25 million for compensatory damages.
However, before the ruling was handed down, Ecleo had posted a P1-million bail for his liberty and until now, he remains a fugitive.
Fabella said he has not communicated with Ecleo. He also does not know Ecleo’s whereabouts but he said that their leader is alive. (FREEMAN)