Prosecution: Angela Leyson’s testimony strengthens kidnapping case vs. Niño Boniel
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Angela Leyson broke into tears at least thrice as she recalled her last moments with former Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.
Leyson, the “slain” mayor’s best friend, took the witness stand on Thursday morning, August 1, for the hearing of the kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges against former Bohol Board Member Niño Rey Boniel at Branch 22 of Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Niño, Gisela’s husband, is implicated as the alleged mastermind behind the death in June 2017 of the pilot turned town mayor. A separate parricide case against Niño pending before the Lapu-Lapu City RTC.
Read more: Boniel refuses to enter plea to parricide
Leyson was subjected to direct examination by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon of the Department of Justice.
Leyson began her testimony from the time that she came with the mayor, along with her 17-year-old son, from Cebu’s Pier 1 in going to Tagbilaran City in the afternoon of June 6 to attend to a hearing at the City Prosecutors Office there.
While they were supposed to return to Cebu on the same day for their scheduled appointments with some personalities here, Leyson said Gisela was convinced by her Executive Secretary Brian Sayson and Tourism Officer Wilfredo Hoylar to go to Bien Unido because some urgent documents were waiting to be signed.
But before reaching Bien Unido, Leyson said Sayson told them that the people, who have the documents, were no longer in the municipal hall and that they would just go to the dive camp owned by the municipality as the documents would be brought there early in the next morning.
“She (Gisela) got irritated because the very reason that we traveled was the urgency of her signing,” Leyson said.
Travel time from Tagbilaran City to the town of Bien Unido takes about two hours, she added.
According to Leyson, it was already past 8 p.m. when they arrived at the dive camp.
Leyson said she shared a room with Gisela while her son and Sayson shared the next room for the night.
“I was trying to get some sleep. I felt so uneasy. I did not know why. But I had a hard time sleeping,” Leyson said.
She said that it was around 1 a.m. of June 7 that a group of six armed men, allegedly led by Niño barged into their room.
“I was almost asleep when I heard the knob of the door like someone was trying to get inside. Somebody went in and turned off the light . I see somebody went to the mayor, grabbed her hair, and began punching her,” Leyson said with a broken voice.
“Somebody grabbed me and smashed me on the floor with my head facing the bed of Mayor Gisela. Somebody grabbed me, somebody was kicking me, and somebody even tasered me on the neck,”she said while falling into tears.
Leyson said she recognized the man punching Gisela to be Niño as the mayor was addressing him as “In-in” which is Niño’s nickname.
Leyson added that she was handcuffed by other companions of Niño before she and her son were brought to Tubigon, Bohol port and were brought back to Cebu at dawn on June 7, 2017.
Niño, who was seated at the last row in the courtroom on Thursday’s hearing, was positively identified by Leyson.
Niño was silent throughout the proceeding while holding a novena guide.
Leyson’s direct examination lasted for about an hour and 30 minutes. However, her direct examination was cut and set to be continued on August 8 along with the cross examination of the defense.
Fadullon requested to cut the examination because Leyson was already “emotional.”
Fadullon said Leyson’s testimony further strengthened the case against Niño and “sends a strong message that the evidence of the prosecution is not something that the defense cannot just throw away.”
The camp of Niño, however, maintains that the the incidents narrated in Leyson’s testimonies does not qualify a kidnapping case.
Lawyer Romero Boniel, legal counsel of Niño, said they maintained their stance that there was no intention to detain Leyson and her son, and thus, it would not constitute kidnapping.
“What is important here is that was there really an intention to detain? If what she narrated did happen, then it is not a case of kidnapping,” said Lawyer Boniel./dbs
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.