Police defy Bohol court order

By: Nestle L. Semilla June 12,2017 - 12:02 PM

Lawyer Handel Lagunay, lawyer of arrested PB Member Niño Rey Boniel, arrives in Camp Sergio Osmeña Sr. to serve the release order of his client from the court.

Instead of heeding the court, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) will file petition for certiorari to contest a Bohol Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) order to release two of the suspects in the killing of Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.

Senior Supt. Jonathan Cabal, chief of Regional Intelligence Division (RID-7), said that there is no way they would release Niño and they were now considering the filing of a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA) within this week.

The petition for certiorari is a kind of petition that questions the decision of the lower court before a higher court, in this case, the CA.

The order to immediately release Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel and his driver Randel Lupas was issued by Judge Marivic Trabajo-Daray of RTC Branch 52 in Talibon, Bohol.

‘He waived’

Cabal said that during the inquest proceedings in Bohol on June 9, Niño was with his legal counsel when he executed a waiver of detention.

For that reason alone, Cabal said Niño and his lawyers could no longer question the validity of the arrest.

“So, in my opinion, (the) waiver of detention actually rendered moot and academic the release order,” he said.

Niño’s legal counsel Handel Lagunay admitted that his client signed the waiver and was assisted by lawyer Em-em Bernido.

However, Lagunay said that just because Niño signed the waiver, it did not mean that the illegal detention of his client was cured.

“Ang among position is that enforceable ang order sa court granting sa habeas corpus tungod kay ang pag-arrest nilang Board (Member) Boniel (was) not valid. It was based on a warrantless arrest,” Lagunay told Cebu Daily News.

(Our position is that the order of the court granting the writ of habeas corpus is still enforceable because the arrest of Board Member Boniel was not valid. It was based on a warrantless arrest.)

Thus, he said, there is no more reason for his client’s continuous detention.

But Cabal said they have eyewitnesses who pointed to Niño as the alleged killer of his wife. That, he said, will justify their arrest of the PB member.

“You cannot simply release a person considering the fact we have eyewitness (who is also the) complainant. Si Angela Leyson (is also the) witness sa pagkawala ni (in the disappearance of Gisela). So those things really count. It justifies our continuous detention (of PB Member Boniel),” Cabal said.


Judge Daray granted PB Member Boniel’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus and ordered his release after the failure of the police to file the criminal complaints against him and Lupas within the required period of 36 hours.

But Cabal said that he executed an affidavit citing the reasons why they were late in filing the complaints.

“Marami kaming hindrances. At saka exceptional cases gaya niyan, which is a grave offense. The prosecutor should have a wide latitude. Dapat meron kaming elbow-room to do our job,” Cabal said.

(We faced so many hindrances. And cases like this is exceptional, and also involved a grave offense. The prosecutor should have given us a wide latitude. We should have an elbow room to do our job.)

Cabal added that the police could not just go to the prosecutor’s office and submit a defective complaint because it could just be easily thrown out by the prosecutors.

Contempt of court

Lagunay said they were still hopeful that today, June 12, during the National Independence Day celebration, the police will heed the order and release Niño and Lupas.

Should the police still defy the order, Lagunay said that they will formally manifest before the Bohol RTC Branch 52 the action taken by the police.

“And with that, the court will most likely order them to explain why they will not be cited in contempt,” Lagunay said.

Lagunay added that the police’s defiance of a court order constitutes a contempt of court offense.

But Cabal said that even if they will heed the order, the fact remains that Niño is still under custodial investigation and facing a charges of parricide.

“We will not release him,” Cabal said.

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TAGS: Bien Unido, bohol, Court of Appeals, Noli Taliño, Police Regional Office

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