Former Bohol Board Member Rey Niño Boniel pleads guilty to killing wife

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | February 08,2022 - 07:31 PM

Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel is being escorted out of the courtroom after his arraignment on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention filed by his wife’s best friend Angela Leyson.    Leo Udtohan/Inquirer Visayas

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Justice has been served.

This was the statement of Julius Bendong, the brother of slain Bien Unido, Bohol Mayor Gisela Boniel, on February 8, 2022, almost five years since she was shot dead and dumped into the sea.

Former Bohol Board Member Rey Niño Boniel pleaded guilty to killing his wife during a hearing in the sala of Judge Christine Muga-Abad of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 70 in Lapu-Lapu City under a plea bargaining deal.

Boniel and four of his cohorts confessed on the stand that he had killed his wife confirming the pieces of evidence against him.

His cohorts included Wilfredo Hoylar, Restituto Magoncia, Alan Delos Reyes, and one other. All of whom also pleaded guilty to the charges.

With this, the state prosecutor agreed to reduce the offense of murder to homicide thereby reducing their sentence from life imprisonment to eight years and one day to fourteen years in prison.

“The suspects finally confessed to the killing of former Mayor Gisela Boniel. Former Board Member Rey Niño Boniel pleaded guilty. But since he pleaded guilty before the prosecution, the state prosecutor agreed to the accused pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of homicide,” said Lawyer Virgil Ligutan, the legal counsel of the late mayor’s family.

Since Boniel has been serving prison time for the last four years and a half, he may well be free in three years time.

Yet Ligutan notes that while Boniel and his cohorts have been convicted for homicide, they are still facing charges for serious illegal detention and kidnapping.

The prosecution camp will continue to seek justice for the said cases, which may increase the sentences the suspects are now facing.

“They will not be getting out of jail even ages from today. Next move is the prosecution will regroup…So, the prosecution will regroup and we will prosecute the same set of accused of kidnapping and serious illegal detention case. Justice has been finally been served five years after the killing of Mayor Gisela Boniel,” said Ligutan.

Bendong, who was present in court during the confession said that his family can now breathe a sigh of relief now that justice has been served for their sister. He hopes Boniel will continue on his path of repentance.

“Justice has been served. Everytime nga moanhi siya sa korte, pirmi siya naggunit og rosaryohan, unta iya nang ipadayon,” said Bendong.

A gruesome case comes to an end

Mayor Gisela’s death had been making headlines for years since she was reported lost on June 17, 2017, with many speculations arising from the incident.

READ: Bohol mayor shot dead, thrown into sea; husband arrested

It came as a surprise to many when her husband, former Board Member Rey Niño, and some of his men were detained over the disappearance of the mayor.

Rumors and reports surfaced that the couple have been struggling in their relationship and the mayor wanted an annulment. She was planning to resign as well.

The mayor’s best friend, Angela Leyson, became one of the major witnesses to the kidnapping on the night of June 17, 2017.

READ: Gisela Boniel case: Mayor’s best friend takes witness stand

Her statement and the statements of other key witnesses such as Randel Lucas and Riolita Lucas were among the major turning points for the case and conviction of the former board member.

READ: Gisela Boniel’s case: Witness recounts role in crime

READ: Key witness to testify in Gisela Boniel parricide case

Years after the killing, Gisela’s body, is yet to be found but the family continues to remember her memory through yearly pilgrimage to the seas of Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City where the mayor’s body was allegedly thrown.

READ: Family and friends commemorate second death anniversary of Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel

The case against Rey Niño and the others dragged on for nearly five years until today when he and the others are finally convicted of homicide following the confession.

The well-celebrated case is nearly at its end with the prosecution pushing for the conviction of the five suspects for kidnapping and serious illegal detention as well. /rcg

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TAGS: Boniel, homicide, illegal detention, kidnapping, Mayor Gisela Boniel, murder of Boniel, plea bargain, Rey Niño Boniel

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