Boniel re­signs from PB, re­it­er­ates in­no­cence

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - By Ador Vin­cent S. Mayol and Nor­man V. Mendoza

Af­ter spend­ing a year in jail, Bo­hol Pro­vin­cial Board Mem­ber Niño Rey Boniel has de­cided to give up his elec­tive po­si­tion.

The law­maker has ten­dered his ir­rev­o­ca­ble res­ig­na­tion at the Bo­hol Pro­vin­cial Board which ac­cepted the re­quest on Thurs­day.

“This is to for­mally in­form you that the un­der­signed af­ter thor­ough con­sul­ta­tion with fam­ily and sup­port­ers, is of­fi­cially and ir­re­vo­ca­bly re­sign­ing from his elec­tive po­si­tion ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately,” said Niño in a onepage let­ter ad­dressed to Bo­hol Vice Gov. Dion­i­sio Balite.

Direc­tor Rene Bur­deos of the Depart­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment in Cen­tral Visayas (DILG-7), in a phone in­ter­view, said the chair­man of the Na­cional­ista Party where Niño be­longed can nom­i­nate the lat­ter’s re­place­ment.

Bur­deos said Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Sal­vador Me­di­aldea shall sub­se­quently ap­point the new board mem­ber who will re­place Niño.

No plea

Shortly be­fore he made the an­nounce­ment, Boniel and two other sus­pects re­fused to en­ter a plea on the charge in­volv­ing the al­leged killing of his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Ben­dong-Boniel, dur­ing the ar­raign­ment be­fore Judge Fer­di­nand Col­lantes of the Re­gional Trial Court Branch 65 in Lapu-Lapu City.

As part of the pro­ce­dure, the trial court put in a “not guilty” plea for him and coac­cused Wil­fredo Hoy­lar and Resti­tuto Magon­cia.

Niño’s lawyer Ger­ardo Car­illo said they wanted the court to en­ter a plea for the ac­cused since they con­tinue to ques­tion the va­lid­ity of the ar­rest made on his client.

Car­illo re­mained op­ti­mistic that the court will even­tu­ally clear Niño of the ac­cu­sa­tions.

“The paraf­fin test re­sults showed that he didn’t fire a gun. No gun was ever re­cov­ered, and more im­por­tantly, the body of the vic­tim was not found. What are we talk­ing about? Who knows his wife is still alive,” he said.

Two other ac­cused who were ear­lier en­dorsed as state wit­nesses by the po­lice — Ri­olito Boniel and Ran­del Lu­pas — sur­prised the par­ties when they en­tered a not guilty plea dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings.

Ri­olito and Lu­pas, who were rep­re­sented by a lawyer from the Pub­lic At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, begged off from is­su­ing any state­ment to the me­dia.

Car­illo said Ri­olito and Lu­pas must now be trans­ferred from the cus­tody of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s Wit­ness Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram to the Cebu Pro­vin­cial De­ten­tion and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter (CPDRC) in Cebu City fol­low­ing their denial.

The Lapu-Lapu City Prose­cu­tor’s Of­fice ear­lier in­dicted Niño of parricide over the dis- ap­pear­ance and pre­sumed death of his wife.

The four other ar­rested ac­cused, on the other hand, were charged with mur­der.

Still alive

In his counter-af­fi­davit, Niño claimed that his wife Gisela is still alive and is in hid­ing to es­cape “mil­lions of debts.”

But the panel of pros­e­cu­tors did not give much weight to his de­fense and in­stead let the court con­duct a full­blown trial.

In­ter­viewed by re­porters at the court­room, Niño main­tained that he did not kill his wife.

“No mat­ter how you tram­ple me, you can­not put a good man down. I am in­no­cent,” said the pri­mary ac­cused who was hold­ing a prayer book­let through­out the pro­ceed­ings.

His wife Gisela was re­port­edly dumped off in be­tween the is­lands of Olango and Caubian in Lapu-Lapu City at dawn of June 7, 2017.

Her body re­mains miss­ing.

Gisela’s older sis­ter, Mikay Ben­dong, said the pain of los­ing a beloved has not died down.

“It’s just not easy to move on,” she said in an in­ter­view af­ter the ar­raign­ment.

“We’re none­the­less happy that the case has now started af­ter wait­ing for a year,” she added.

Trial proper is sched­uled on Sept. 7.

BONIEL

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