Boat used to dump mayor found
SEARCH FOR GISELA BONIEL
Bien Unido, Bohol — Traces of blood were found on a motorized boat believed to have been used in transporting Mayor Gisela Boniel of Bien Unido town, Bohol, when she was dumped into the waters between Cebu and Bohol after she was shot dead on Wednesday.
The motorized boat was recovered by the police on Malingin Island, about 10 km away from mainland Bien Unido town about 4 p.m. Friday.
The police went to the island-barangay after they were told by Riolito “Etad” Boniel, a cousin of Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel, that the motorized boat they used was moored on Malingin Island.
Niño, Riolito and Randel Lupas, the driver of the board member, were arrested after they were tagged in the killing of Gisela, Niño’s wife, whose body had yet to be found.
Jealousy and financial problems were believed to be the motive in the killing that rocked Bien Unido, a sleepy town with a population of about 27,000.
Riolito told reporters in Tagbilaran on Friday that Niño shot his wife early Wednesday morning.
He claimed that they loaded Gisela on a motorized boat and wrapped her with a fishnet before tying her to a rock that weighed around 30 kilos to ensure that she would submerge in the water.
He added that they then dumped the body in the waters between Olango Island in Cordova town, Cebu, and Bien Unido town in Bohol.
Policemen had been scouring the area since Thursday but had not found the mayor.
SPO1 Fernando Item, Bien Unido Police Station team leader, said the motorized banca recovered on Malingin Island could carry at least eight persons.
The motorized banca, which was colored white and blue, matched the description given by Riolito, Item said.
He said bloodstains were found on the boat’s cover and floor. Foul odor also emitted from the banca when the police examined it, he added.
“Naay dugo; baho sa dugo sa tawo. Posible maoy gigamit ni sa mga suspek,” Item told Inquirer.
(There was blood that smelled like the blood of humans. It is possible that this was the boat used by the suspects.)
According to Item, it was possible that someone tried to clean the banca because only a few bloodstains were left.
The Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) had taken samples of the bloodstains which would be subjected to forensic examinations to determine if these belonged to the missing mayor.
The boat is owned by Victorio Boniel, a resident of Malingin Island who is said to be a relative of Niño and Riolito.
Item said Victorio claimed that he left the boat at the Bien Unido port and was surprised to know that it was recovered on Malingin Island.
Insp. Librado Bigcas Jr., chief of the Bien Unido Police Station, said Victorio’s son, Lobo, has been tagged as a “person of interest” in relation to the killing of the mayor.
Lobo is an employee of the Bien Unido municipal government while his wife works as a secretary of the mayor, Item said.
Lobo could not be found and was believed to have left Bien Unido, he added.
Authorities have brought the boat to mainland Bohol where it is being guarded by police.
For his part, Senior Supt. Jonathan Cabal, head of the police Regional Intelligence Division, told reporters that once the mayor’s body is recovered, it will be immediately subjected to forensic examination to prove its identity.
Divers had yet to find the body of Gisela even as Riolito confessed his participation in the crime.
He led authorities to the place where the mayor’s body was dumped.
Riolito pointed to his cousin, Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel, as the person who shot dead Gisela. However, Niño claimed it was Riolito who killed the mayor. /with Ador Vincent S. Mayol
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