By: Ador Vincent Mayol, Norman Mendoza June 14,2017 - 10:50 PM


PARRICIDE. Arrested Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel hides his face behind a mask while at the LapuLapu City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, June 13,2017, to face parricide charges for the killing of his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel. Jess Bendong (cousin of Mayor Boniel) from Iligan City and her Aunt Angeles
Bendong (right) with her son Oscar Bendong (not in the photo) arrived in Cebu yesterday to take part in the search and retrieval operations for the remains of the mayor. CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA AND NORMAN MENDOZA

Efforts to recover the body of Mayor Gisela Boniel of Bien Unido, Bohol may have to end next week.

“We’re looking at a period of 15 days (since we started the search and retrieval operations last June 8),” said Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) in an interview on Wednesday.

“Once we utilize the necessary equipment and still we could not find the body, then we have to stop,” he added.

Gisela’s body was believed to have been dumped into the sea between Bien Unido town in Bohol and Caubian Island in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, after she was allegedly shot in the head by her husband, Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel last June 7.

Niño and eight others were facing parricide complaint at the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly killing Gisela.

The eight others were his cousin Riolito Boniel, driver Randel Lupas, Willy Hoylar, Wilson Hoylar, Restituto Magoncia Jr., Lobo Boniel, Allan Delos Reyes Jr. and Brian Boniel Saycon.

Of the seven, four were at large. They were Wilson, Lobo, Delos Reyes and Saycon. The rest were arrested with Niño.

Niño is currently detained at the Fuente Police Station stockade located across the PRO-7 headquarters while the four were under the custody of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) inside PRO-7.

Scouring the sea

Divers continued to scour the sea off Caubian Island on Wednesday but still failed to recover Gisela’s body which was reportedly tied to a rock weighing 30 kilos before she was thrown into the waters.

Riolito, who operated the pump boat that was used to transport the body, led authorities to the spot where they threw Gisela’s body.

Riolito, who was endorsed as a state witness by the police, pointed Niño as the one who shot Gisela in the head.

The victim’s two brothers and two sisters dropped by Taliño’s office at Camp Sergio Osmeña, the PRO-7 headquarters in Cebu City, last Tuesday and appealed to the police to help the family secure justice for their slain sibling.

In a written message, Gisela’s family expressed their desire to recover the mayor’s body.

“We, the family of Gisela Bendong Boniel, are deeply saddened for this sudden loss. We are closely coordinating with the authorities. Our main priority now is to locate her and her body,” a note distributed to reporters read.

“The case is now under the hands of authorities and we are certain that justice for our sister will be served.”

Justice, not money

Gisela’s siblings stressed that they were not asking for any financial assistance in trying to recover their sister’s body.

“Rumors have been circulating that the family is asking amount for the retrieval (operations). We would like to inform our friends, relatives and Gisela’s friends that the family is not asking for any amount or solicitation for the retrieval of the body or for any purposes,” they said.

They also asked the public to respect their privacy.

Gisela, Philippine AirAsia’s first female pilot, is a native of Iligan City.

Three of her relatives from Iligan City and Siquijor showed up at the Hilton Wharf in Barangay Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday morning to join in the search and retrieval operation.

But they came a little late and instead waited for the search and retrieval team to return.

Gisela’s aunt Angeles Bendong said they heard about the victim’s death from news reports last week, prompting them to travel to Lapu-Lapu City to get firsthand updates from authorities.

“We hope that justice will be served, and that all the persons responsible for her death will be incarcerated. We also hope that her body will be recovered,” she said in an interview.

Gisela’s father already died years ago while her ailing mother was in Iligan City, she added.

Bendong was accompanied by her son Oscar and another relative Jess Bendong in going to Lapu-Lapu City.

Oscar appealed to the people of Bien Unido to express their support to the mayor whom they elected into office last year.

Acting mayor

Acting Bien Unido Mayor Rene Borinaga, in a report over DYTR in Bohol, said town officials agreed to donate P100,000 to PRO-7 to help defray the costs in the ongoing search and retrieval operations.

Borinaga assumed as acting mayor on Tuesday and then met with her department heads and councilors to discuss about releasing the funds for the search of their missing mayor.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza told a news conference on Wednesday that the city would continue providing support to the police in an attempt to recover Gisela’s body.

“We have to support our policemen because the crime, as alleged, happened under the jurisdiction of Lapu-Lapu City,” she said.

Radaza said Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto called her up to express the provincial government’s willingness to help in locating Gisela’s body.

She said she told Chatto that she would contact him if they needed help in the operations.

Body of evidence

The Lapu-Lapu City police earlier said at least P50,000 per day was spent for the search and retrieval operations.

Taliño reiterated that while finding Gisela’s body would boost their parricide case against her husband, it was not necessary.

“With all the evidence and testimonies of our witnesses, we are optimistic that the cases we filed will prosper,” he said.

Taliño said PRO-7 got legal advice from a group of retired judges, government prosecutors and private law practitioners who bonded together last year to render free legal assistance to policemen slapped with charges while in the performance of their regular duties.

The group is led by retired Court of Appeals Justice Isaias Dicdican, and retired Judge Silvestre Maamo Jr. of the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.

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TAGS: A, Bien Unido, bohol, Boniel, Caubian, cry, for, Gisela, Justice, mayor, Olango

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