‘Search mayor’s remains in Camotes’

By Morexette Marie B. Erram July 15,2017

LAST SEARCH. Mikay Bendong, sister of Bien Unido mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel, prays with Task Force Boniel before joining their dive.

Despite the police ending the search for the remains of Bien Unido mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel last Thursday, her family and lawyer are asking the government to reconsider their decision.

Lawyer Lane Pangilinan, the Gisela camp’s legal counsel, said they believe the mayor’s remains was carried off to the waters around Camotes Island.
“It is possible that the body was carried off to Camotes or in the provinces at Leyte. That’s why we are requesting our policemen that, if possible, to check these areas, too,” Pangilinan said.

She said they also asked the police to ask residents in the coasts of Camotes Islands and nearby places to be on the lookout for unusual floating objects at sea.

“If they see anything strange floating on the sea, it would be better if they report them to the authorities,” Pangilinan said. More than a month passed since the police launched the search and retrieval operation for the mayor’s remains.

Police believe that Bohol Provincial Board (PB) Member Niño Boniel, Gisela’s husband, ordered to have her killed and dump her remains into the waters between Mactan Island and Olango Island.

The diving team theorized that the mayor’s remains were carried off by the waves to Camotes Island. Pangilinan alleged that Boniel made sure his wife’s remains won’t be found.

“God willing — there is always another way, a miracle, for the body to float. Slowly we believe it will be discovered, and maybe as a surprise,” she said.

Despite the absence of the mayor’s remains, Pangilinan said they have a strong case against Boniel, who faces charges of parricide, illegal detention and kidnapping in relation to the mayor’s death.

Pangilinan said the results of the DNA test conducted by Camp Crame on the blood stain found on the pump boat, which witnesses claim was used to dump the mayor’s remains, will bolster their case.

Inocencio dela Cerna, one of the lawyers of the suspects linked to Gisela’s murder, said they were sad about the end to the search operation since it didn’t give “closure” on the case.

“The PB member is the most interested party in this case not only because it involves his spouse but also to test the theory of the police and the credibility of the witnesses on the alleged incident,” Dela Cerna’s text message read.

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