MEMBERS of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) are not just giving up.
More than six months after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar Discipline dismissed a disbarment complaint filed against two former lawyers of their “supreme master” Ruben Ecleo, a member of PBMA has asked the Supreme Court to review the IBP decision.
In a press conference, Tuesday, PBMA announced that they had filed a Manifestation for Automatic Review before the High Court last November 20, for the disbarment cases which they filed against lawyers Orlando Salatandre and Giovanni Mata.
The IBP had found no grounds to hold Salatandre and Mata accountable for the charges made by Atilano Fabella, a retired police officer and a member of PBMA.
Fabella had claimed that the lawyers mishandled the case which led to Ecleo’s conviction.
Fabella said that Salatandre and Mata were liable for “negligence and lack of fidelity, care, and devotion to the cause of their client.”
Ecleo was sentenced to reclusion perpetua (at least 30 years imprisonment) in April 2012 by RTC Judge Soliver Peras after he was found guilty of parricide for killing his wife, Alona, in January 2002 in their residence in Forest Hills, Guadalupe, Cebu City.
Ecleo was also ordered to pay the heirs of his wife P25.65 million in damages and attorneys fees.
The case was elevated before the Court of Appeals which also made Ecleo’s conviction final and executory.
Ecleo has been a fugitive since an arrest warrant was issued against him in 2011 after he skipped three scheduled hearings in Cebu.
Fabella, who is also the chairman of a PBMA support group, said that they are now looking for legal remedies to prove Ecleo’s innocence.
Asked about the fugitive’s whereabouts, Fabella said that Ecleo is still in the Philippines and in “good condition.”