Ecleo, no!

Told about a planned police operation against fugitive Ruben Ecleo Jr. who faces two arrest warrants, a news editor asked the chief photographer to assign a photographer to accompany a reporter who’d cover it.

Ecleo, supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association and former congressman, was convicted in the murder of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo and on two counts of corruption. Ten years earlier, on his first arrest, a gunfight claimed 20 lives when police descended on his hometown in Dinagat Island, Surigao.

The photo chief asked the photographer if he’d cover the planned new raid. He refused so the chief turned to other photographers.

Fotog 1: “Delikadoha ana, Do uy. Di man tingali ta secured ana. Kon mabukobuko ko didto, lain lalaki na nang mamintana sa akong bay. Gwapa ra ba akong asawa ug bata pa ang akong anak. (That’s dangerous. If I’d get hit, another man would be in my house. My wife is beautiful and my child is still very young.)”

Fotog 2: “Kamo lang, Do. Naa pa ra ba koy nag-eskwela da. Kon maunsa ta didto, pulihan tang ‘pare ini. (Leave me out of it. I still have kids to send to school. And my ‘kumpare’ might replace me.)”

Fotog 3. “Na, ako pang way anak ug inyong ipada didto? Wa pa ko kita sa akong liwat.” (I don’t have a child yet and you will send me there?)”

The operation was called off after a radio reporter broke the news, alerting Ecleo. Photographer 3, whom the chief had picked, and the reporter were hugely relieved.

Ghost of an effort

Reporter Justin K. Vestil was happy that his news story of a murder landed on Page 1 of the paper. But the victim got in the way of a celebration.

Justin was tipped off that a boy, 13, had been murdered by his father in Camp 4, Talisay City and his body dumped in an isolated area of the mountain barangay.

Pursuing the story, Justin joined the police in the search. And it landed as banner headline in the following day’s paper.

But who turned up promptly at the police station to belie the story? The boy, very much alive, said his younger siblings, used to pulling pranks, cooked up the story of his death.

Victim of a hoax, the reporter only tried to laugh off the incident.

Reward for tears

Eduardo Capetillo, who played the lead role of Sergio in the Mexcican telenovela “Marimar,” visited Cebu in 2000. Iste Sesante-Leopoldo was a photographer assigned to cover the visit.

At the airport for his send-off, Iste was barred by security from entering the VIP Lounge. Still new, she was not yet issued her press ID.

She broke down and even after she got in when the airport general manager interceded, she was still in tears as she took photos of the TV drama star.

“Sergio” apparently saw her crying. On his way to take his flight, he approached Iste and kissed her on the cheek.

LOL! That was when she realized the actor must have thought she was in tears because he was leaving Cebu.

[Research by Jovy T. Gerodias and Kevin A. Lagunda]