Sworn statements by two witnesses pinned down 2nd District Board Member Niño Rey Boniel as the alleged brains and triggerman of the savage killing of his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisele Zambrano Bendong-Boniel.
Riolito “Etad” Abarquez Boniel, his first degree cousin and Randel Lupas, driver and regular employee of the Local Government Unit of Bien Unido claimed that they witnessed first- hand the horrifying events leading to the death of Mayor Gisele.
Riolito said that he saw BM Boniel “shoot Mayor Boniel on her head” while “half of her body was submerged in the sea and hanging on the left side of the pump boat.”
Lupas corroborated the testimony of Riolito that he assisted BM Boniel together with co-accused Allan Delos Reyes Jr. who is still at large carry to the waiting pump boat a still struggling Mayor Gisele and her muted sounds for help barely heard as she was wrapped in a blanket.
Government Prosecutors are mulling over turning Riolito and Lupas as state witnesses considering the gravity of their sworn statements and the extent of their participation in the killing of Mayor Gisele.
The frantic search and retrieval for the missing body of Mayor Gisele continue despite hopes for its recovery growing dimmer.
Even the murder weapon has yet to be found after the police came out empty handed during a raid on the Boniel’s three-story residence in Monterazzas Village, Guadalupe, Cebu City.
Mayor Gisele was allegedly beaten, shot and killed by her husband, Nino Rey in the early hours of Wednesday, June 7, 2017.
Her body wrapped in a fishnet and weighed down with a heavy rock was thrown overboard in the waters of Olango Channel, Olango Island, Lapu-lapu City.
A complaint for parricide was filed against Boniel and eight others on June 13, 2017 at the Lapu-lapu City Prosecutors Office with Riolito Boniel pointing an accusing finger at his cousin as the perpetrator of the murder of Mayor Gisele.
Parricide is a crime committed by a person who kills his lawful spouse and is punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua (20 years and one day to forty years imprisonment).
In his ten-page sworn statement submitted to the Regional Legal Services of the Police Regional Office Vll on June 12, 2017, the 38 year old barangay (village) councilor of Busalian, Talibon described the murder of Mayor Gisele as a deliberate and cold-bloodied plan hatched by Board Member Boniel.
Riolito recalled the last minutes of Mayor Gisele’s life on board the pump boat as she struggled to free herself from the clutches of an enraged Board Member who was cursing and thrashing her head.
According to Riolito’s statement, BM Boniel instructed him to stop the engine upon firing his gun.
Riolito who swore that after BM Boniel shot his wife Gisele, ” He handed his gun to me which I placed on the center of the pump boat and he ordered me to get the fishing net which they used to wrap the body of Mayor Boniel and placed the rock inside the fishing net and the fishing net was tied to the stone that had a hole.”
According to Riolito, the BM himself assisted by Allan Delos Reyes Jr. dumped the body of Mayor Boniel to the seawaters between Olango and Caubian island.
After the killing, BM Boniel tucked the gun in his waist and in exchange for his silence gave him PhP10,000.00, dropped him at Punta Engano where he drove off on a motorcycle with an unidentified companion.
According to Riolito, upon his arrival in his barangay at noontime he turned over to his wife the money the BM gave who refused to accept it. The next day, June 8, 2017, he received a call from BM Boniel telling him to leave the barangay to escape police authorities and promised that he would take care of his family.
I ignored his order to leave and reported the killing to the PNP Regional Office in Cebu City accompanied by friends from the police assigned to the Regional Intelligence Division, according to Riolito.
Also accused together with Riolito were Lupas (BM’s driver), Willy Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia Jr (bodyguards) all detained at the Police Regional Office Vll and four others who remains at large – Lubo Boniel, distant relative, trusted aide of the BM and alleged owner of the pumpboat where the killing took place whose wife is the secretary to the mayor.
Delos Reyes Jr. who was with the BM in the pump boat, William Hoylar and Brian Boniel Saycon, all accused for their roles leading to the death of Mayor Gisele.
However, in a sudden twist in the legal maneuvers by Board Member Nino Rey Boniel in his bid for his temporary liberty, his legal team withdrew the habeas corpus petition filed before Regional Trial Court Branch 52, Talibon Presiding Judge Marivic Trabajo-Garay on Friday.
Also, the waiver against his illegal detention filed before Assistant Prosecutor Aida Digaum-Langcamon of the PPOB on June 9, 2017 was also withdrawn with a petition for a speedy resolution of the complaint of kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
Both legal moves by Boniel will effectively remove the legal obstacles for a speedy trial of the complaint for kidnapping and serious illegal detention filed by Angela Gamalinda Leyson, “childhood friend” of Mayor Gisele.
However, Boniel suffered a setback after a three-man panel of the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutors Office ruled that the warrantless arrest for the parricide case was valid.
Riolito, who also works as a casual employee of Bien Unido recalled that during a meeting with some of his co-accused at the Bien Unido Double Barrier Dive Camp, four days before the fateful morning of July 7, 2017, the Board Member asked their advice on how he could put an end to his problem with his wife.
The next day, Boniel fired his handgun and even taught me how to handle a gun, according to Riolito.
In the evening of June 6, 2017, Riolito recalled receiving a call from the BM to proceed to the Dive Camp since the pump boat was ready. Upon reaching the dive camp, he fell asleep while waiting for the arrival of Nino Rey.
“At around midnight, BM awoke me and told to transfer the pump boat near the pier and on my way I met Lubo Boniel and he told me that there was a fishing net and two rocks on the boat”, according to Riolito’s sworn statement.
The defense panel of BM Boniel for the parricide complaint are Lawyers Romero Boniel, Leilani Villarino, Gerry Carillo and Donato Gonzales while the kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases are handled by Counsels Romero Boniel, Handel Lagunay, Thaddeus Bernido and Gerry Carillo.
With the murder of Mayor Gisele shifting to the courtroom, is killing out of love a good defense? (Chito M. Visarra)