The search and retrieval team scouring Lapu-Lapu City waters for the body of Mayor Gisela Boniel resumed their operation this morning after a three-day hiatus, but as to whether this will be the final dive remains uncertain.
Chief Insp. Jacinto Mandal while leading the dive team today said he is yet to receive formal directive from regional police director Chief Supt. Noli Talino and Lapu-Lapu City Police Office chief Sr. Supt. Romel Cabagnot on whether the search will continue in the next days.
“So far wala pa ko ka storya sa atong regional director ug city director kinsa ang overall supervisor dire sa kadagatan. Basin magkastorya kami karon,” said Mandal.
Mandal admitted that today’s search will be crucial in determining whether their operations will be sustained.
The team will be focusing on “refining” their search in areas they have previously operated in, which are divided into “13 quadrants,” he said.
These so called quadrants were also utilized as basis by the Philippine Navy as they conducted their search using their equipment, he added.
However, Mandal continued to point out the need for better diving gear to allow divers to submerge into deeper areas and enhance search capabilities.
The search team since it started to conduct their operations reached depths of only up to 200 feet while some areas around the alleged drop site of Boniel’s body are deeper than 700 feet.
Earlier, Cabagnot bared that he had already recommended to the Central Visayas police command to suspend the search as the team continued to come up empty-handed two weeks after the operation was launched.
He previously said that they have already scoured the surrounding waters in the area pinpointed by suspect Riolito Boniel as the drop site of the mayor’s body.
Riolito had claimed to be the boatman when Gisela was shot dead mid-sea then thrown into seas near Caubian and Olango Islands in Lapu-Lapu City. (Allen Doydora)