'No God in Jail'

Inmate attacks Ecleo; killed by guards

Cebu Daily News/June 27, 2002
By Kathy I. Navarro

An attempt on the life of cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. yesterday led to the death of a fellow inmate and murder convict at the city jail.

Another inmate was injured in the early morning commotion inside the cell.

Avelino Edaño, 26, was shot twice and killed by jail guard Richard Arofo during a grapple for a firearm when the convict tried to stab Ecleo inside the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center.

Another inmate, Anastacio Ortiz, was accidentally hit in the leg when Arofo fired a warning shot to pacify Edaño. He was brought to the Cebu City Medical Center.

Edaño, alias "Dodong Lansiao" was extremely bothered over his conviction in a murder case. Last Monday, the court sentenced him to life imprisonment.

He was also worried that he would be placed in an isolation cell while waiting for his transfer to the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.

Edaño could not sleep and was restless. At past 7 a.m. yesterday, he attacked Ecleo and fellow inmates at the infirmary II using an improvised weapon - a toothbrush with a pointed handle and a pointed stainless steel made out of a spoon handle.

At this point, three inmates immediately shielded a pale-looking Ecleo, a former town mayor in Dinagat Island who was locked up at the city jail nearly a week ago for allegedly killing his wife.

Arofo, who passed by their cell, heard the commotion and immediately responded to pacify Edaño who instead tried to grab the guard's issued firearm, a caliber .45 pistol.

Arofo, however, was quick to fire a warning shot. The bullet ricocheted and hit Ortiz's right leg. Edaño continued to grapple with Arofo forcing the latter to shoot him, hitting the convict in the stomach.

The commotion also prompted BBRC Jail Warden Lita Quilaton to temporarily transfer Ecleo to her office to ensure his safety.

A firetruck was immediately dispatched to the jail to quell any outbreak. The Mabolo police is also investigating the incident.

At the CCMC emergency room, Ortiz, 66, told reporters that Edaño had a history of a nervous breakdown.

After he was sentenced to life imprisonment, Edaño became paranoid about being locked in an isolation cell.

Edaño was found guilty of shooting to death of his friend, a certain Philip dela Cerna, on April 10, 1998 in barangay Luz, Cebu City.

Right after the 7 a.m. headcount yesterday, Ortiz said they noticed that Edaño "was not in the mood." He started following Ecleo anywhere he went.

Calm Down

Because of this, an irritated Ecleo approached Ortiz, who was the eldest among the inmates inside infirmary II, and asked him to advise Edaño to calm down and take a rest.

"Manoy, ikaw man ang pinakatiguwang dire, ingna na si Dodong nga matulog ug mag-relax (Since you are the eldest, tell Dodong to sleep and relax)," Ortiz quoted Ecleo as saying.

Ortiz said Edaño ignored Ecleo and rolled his eyes instead.

He took the toothbrush with a pointed handle and the improvised stainless weapon and started hitting the walls, Ortiz recalled.

"The situation was, mora siya'g naguol kay i-padlock kuno siya. Wala siya'y tulog kagabi-i. Pagka-5:30 a.m., lain na iyang lihok .Mora na siya'g na-praning. (He was worried thinking he would be padlocked. He did not sleep the whole night. At 5:30 a.m., he acted different. He became paranoid.)," Ecleo said.

Ortiz also said Ecleo even advised Edaño to stop worrying since he could still have a chance, considering it is only a life sentence and not death penalty.

"Wala mi mag-expect nga mag-wild siya. (We did not expect he would go wild)" Ortiz said.

Ecleo said "Nagsige siya'g sunod-sunod nako, na-irita ko. Ako siya gi-ingnan, 'nganong sige man ka'g sunod-sunod nako?' Nananghid ko sa gwardya dire nga motawag ko ni mommy, gilain tingale niya pagsabot, kaingon siya nga mosumbong ko unya nakuyawan tingale to siya, gihasmagan ko niya (He was following me, I got irritated. I told him 'why are you following me?' Then I asked the guard I wanted to call mommy. He probably thought I was going to report so he attacked me)."

Three of his fellow inmates rushed to cover Ecleo, who rushed near the comfort room while other inmates tried to pacify Edaño.


At first, Ecleo told reporters that he tried to defend himself by parrying Edaño.

"Of course, I defended myself," Ecleo said.

Later, he told Cebu Daily News that he ran towards the comfort room for safety.

"Ni-cover ko didto sa may CR. Gi-cover-ran pud ko nila. Nahadlok ko, I thought I was going to die (I covered myself near the CR. They also covered me. I was afraid.) ," Ecleo said.

Ortiz said Ecleo was pale when Edaño attacked him so they shielded him.

When Arofo went to their cell, Edaño rushed to him to grab his gun forcing the jailguard to fire a warning shot, Ortiz added.

When the bullet hit him, Ortiz said he did not know what happened next because he fell to the floor and almost fainted, except that he heard two more shots.

Based on Arofo's account, Mabolo police investigator Roy Jacalan said the second shot hit Edaño in his pelvic bone because the latter continued to grapple for the firearm.

Jacalan said another jail guard, JO2 Cresencio Manlangit Jr. rushed to help Arofo. When Arofo went out of the cell, a wounded Edaño still ran after him and grappled with him. This forced Arofo to shoot the inmate, this time hitting him in the chest.

Edano slumped dead near the BBRC's gate 2 as Arofo threw his firearm to his fellow guards.

"Iya nalang kuno gilabay ang iyang armas kay basin madayunan kailog, mas dako ang kadaot (He decided to throw his firearm because it could have been more dangerous if the inmate grabs it.)," Jacalan said.


Jacalan said he was told that jail guards assigned in gate 2 are supposed to be unarmed when facing the inmates.

According to Jacalan, Arofo was not assigned at gate 2 but only rushed to the area to respond when he saw the commotion.

Quilaton also rushed to the scene and saw Edaño's bloodied body on the floor near gate 2.

At this point, inmates inside gate 3 started ganging up threatening to destroy the gate so she rushed to pacify them.

The inmates wanted jail guards to take out Edaño's bloodied body because they did not like seeing it.

"Nidagan ko ngadto sa gate kay ako silang gi-ingnan nga kung inyo ni bungkagon, ako ang unang mamatay. Kay sus, kung mabungkag to ang gate, dako'ng problema kung makagawas ang mga piniriso (I rushed to the gate and pacified them. I told them 'if you will destroy this, I will be the first to die.' Because if they succeed in destroying it, it would be a big problem because the prisoners would all come out.) ," Quilaton said.

When Quilaton ordered the guards to take out Edaño's body, she also ordered the transfer of Ecleo to her office to secure him.

"If I will be made to decide, I will place him in one cell, alone," Quilaton said.

She said she had wanted to do this when Ecleo was brought to BBRC but decided against it to ward off criticisms of special treatment. Ecleo was later placed at a holding cell, separate from other inmates.


"I am not giving any special treatment. Kay tan-awa karon kung unsa ang nahitabo, gubot (Look what happened now, trouble)," Quilaton said.

Meanwhile, Ortiz is already declared out of danger. He was waiting for his operation because the bullet was still embedded in his left lower bone.

Ortiz, a former bodyguard of popular singer Pilita Corales, was charged with murder by his relatives.

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