Stage set for Niño Boniel trial for parricide after indictment
The Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office has indicted Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel of parricide in relation to the death of his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.
Two other accused—Wilfredo Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia—were charged with murder.
Niño’s cousin Reolito Boniel and driver Randel Lupas were earlier indicted for murder after they decided to forego the conduct of a preliminary investigation and confessed their participation in the crime.
Reolito and Lupas were endorsed as state witnesses by the police.
Police Regional Director, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño said they will do their best to secure justice for the slain mayor.
“We will continue to strengthen our case against the respondents (going into the trial) in order to achieve justice for Mayor Boniel,” he told Cebu Daily News in a text message.
As murder charges were filed against them in court, Regional Trial Court Branch 16 presiding Judge Sylva Paderanga ordered the release of Restituto Magoncia and Wilfredo Hoylar.
The order issued by Paderanga granted the writ of habeas corpus filed by the wives of Magoncia and Hoylar.
Paderanga did not rule on the legality of their arrest but rather, cited the delay in the filing of criminal charges before the court.
But before Paderanga’s ruling was released, the panel of prosecutors in Lapu-Lapu City had already filed murder charges against Magoncia and Hoylar in relation to Gisela’s death and ruled that their arrest was valid.
As of 8 p.m. on Friday, the police refused to release the two accused.
In their resolution dated June 28, the panel of prosecutors who handled the complaint found sufficient basis to indict Niño, Wilfredo, and Magoncia based on the evidence presented by the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7).
The prosecutors also considered as valid the warrantless arrest effected on the accused, and its territorial jurisdiction over the complaint—two aspects of the case that were earlier questioned by Niño’s lawyers.
Niño, in his counter-affidavit, claimed that his wife Gisela is still alive and is in hiding herself to escape “millions of debts.”
But the panel of prosecutors did not give much weight to his defense and instead let the court conduct a full-blown trial.
“Wherefore, premises considered, the undersigned recommend that Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel be charged in court with the crime of parricide together Wilfredo Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia who will be charged with murder as co-conspirators,” said Prosecutors Jude Henritz Ycong, Shielamar Abadia, and Francis Ian Birondo.
The resolution of the three-man panel of prosecutors was approved by Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor Ruzo Zaragoza.
The case was raffled off to Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Victor Teves of Branch 54 of Lapu-Lapu City.
However, the cases will eventually be sent to the Cebu City RTC in compliance with an earlier directive of the Supreme Court.
In 2015, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez issued a memorandum circular mandating 12 judges in Cebu City to handle newly filed cases in the courts of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
The setup was meant to speed up the work and to help the “overburdened” RTCs in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
One of Niño’s six lawyers, Gerardo Carillo, said the ruling did not come as a surprise to them.
“We actually expected that,” he told Cebu Daily News.
“We’re ready for trial. As I have said, the real fireworks happen during trial,” he added.
Carillo said they will move for the consolidation of the cases against Niño in Bohol and Cebu.
Aside from the parricide case, Niño is also facing a charge for kidnapping and serious illegal detention at the RTC in Talibon, Bohol. The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Gisela’s best friend Angela Leyson, who, along with her 17-year-old son, were held captive at the Bien Unido Double Barrier Dive Resort.
“It will be a security nightmare if he has to cross from Cebu and Bohol again and again. And so it will be best for the parties to consolidate the cases,” Carillo said.
“As to where it will be, let the courts decide,” he added.
Meanwhile, the search for Gisela’s body will resume on Monday, said Lapu-Lapu City Police Director, Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot, who added that he called for a meeting with the divers to discuss Monday’s operation.
Taliño had promised to give financial support to the team of divers and said that he would again request the Philippine Navy, the Coast Guard and the PNP Maritime Command to assist in the search, by way of divers and equipment.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza also promised to provide motorized bancas, fuel and food for the search and retrieval operation as long as the money from her discretionary funds lasts.
“Mas maayo hinoon og magpadayon sila kay luoy sab baya ang pamilya sa mayor nga wala pa g’yud siya makit-i (It is good that they decided to continue the search because the family of the mayor is suffering because she has not yet been found.),” said Radaza.
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