DOJ wants Boniel’s 2 co-accused to turn state witness

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol |June 20,2018 - 10:27 PM


THE Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) has asked the trial court to admit as state witnesses two of the nine suspects in the slay of Bien Unido, Bohol Mayor Gisela Boniel.

Assistant Regional Prosecutor Llena Ipong-Avila, program implementor of the WPP-7, said the testimonies of Riolito Boniel and Randel Lupas are “absolutely necessary” to prove the guilt of Gisela’s husband, former Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel.

“Considering that the main conspirator and perpetrators who were present during the incident are either at large or detained, there is no other direct evidence available for the state for the proper prosecution of the instant cases,” she said in a pleading filed before Judge Ferdinand Collantes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 65 in Lapu-Lapu City.

Since Riolito and Lupas were early on admitted to the WPP, Avila said the two accused must be excluded from the case and be considered by the court as state witnesses.

“Riolito Boniel and Randel Lupas do not appear to be the most guilty because the criminal mind to perpretrate the acts did not originate from them, but from Niño Rey Boniel. The two merely acceded and carried out the orders and plans of the main conspirator,” she explained.

Last June 14, Niño and his co-acused Wilfredo Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia refused to enter a plea during their court arrarraignment.

As part of procedure, the trial court entered a “not guilty” plea for them.

Riolito and Lupas, on the other hand, entered a plea of not guilty.

The Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office earlier indicted Niño of parricide over the disappearance and presumed death of his wife Gisela. The four other arrested accused were charged with murder.

The other suspects remain at large.

Riolito, a casual employee of Bien Unido town and a close relative of Niño, claimed to have witnessed the actual killing of Gisela.

In his sworn statement, he said Niño was saying expletives before the latter shot Gisela in the head while they were on board a pump boat in between the islands of Olango and Caubian in Lapu-Lapu City at dawn of June 7, 2017.

Gisela’s body, he said, was subsequently thrown into the sea.

Riolito said Niño gave him P10,000 for his help.

On the other hand, Lupas, a regular driver of the Municipality of Bien Unido who also drove for Gisela and Niño, said he was sleeping when Hoylar and Magoncia asked him to help carry the victim’s body from the Dive Camp Resort in Bien Unido to the motorboat where the mayor was eventually killed.

While Lupas was not present during the actual killing, Avila said the accused was there moments before the crime.

“Undersigned state prosecutor is convinced that the testimony of Riolito and Lupas are absolutely necessary to the successful prosecution of the cases against the other accused,” Avila said.

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