Entering the third week, still divers have yet to find the remains of the slain Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel.
With no body found, provincial board member Niño Rey Boniel,accused of killing his wife, Gisela, has arrived in Bohol after the police were ordered by a court to bring the government official here.
The board member, facing parricide and kidnapping charges, yesterday arrived in Bohol within the cover of tight security and with relatives and his lawyer.
As this developed, Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office recommended the halt in the search and retrieval operation.
“It is time to stop,” said Cabagnot after being interviewed by station dyLA on Friday.
Cabagnot said the divers are also tired after 14 days of diving in the waters between Caubian and Olango Islands.
Reports said the divers have been able to cover about 1.5 nautical miles radius with an average of 12 divers with help from the Philippine Navy joining the search operation.
It may be possible that the body may not be thrown at the supposed area, Cabagnot said.
However, the final decision to stop the retrieval operations will be made by PRO 7 regional director Chief Supt NoliTaliño.
Early Saturday morning, Niñoarrived in Bohol via Ubay and was committed to Talibon District Jail.
Boniel was with two other suspects linked to the allegations of killing slain Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel early June.
The other suspects with the board member were RestitutoMagoncia and Wilfredo Hoylar.
Magoncia and Hoylar were released from the Cebu detention and were transferred to Bohol by virtue of an order from Judge Sylva Aguirre-Paderanga of the RTC branch 16 in Cebu.
Paderanga granted the petition of writ of habeas corpus for Magoncia and Hoylar last Wednesday.
The judge ordered the temporary transfer of the two on Friday from the Fuente Police Station to Talibon.
The counsel for the two, Renato Galleon, asked the judge to detain the duo in a place closer to their families.
IS THE DEAD MAYOR IN DUBAI?
However, there have been some alleged reports that could fit as nice a storyline for a potential Jessica Fletcher novel.
The twists and turns of the story about a political tandem that has turned for the worst has become more intriguing as frustration mounts on the search, which could be called off anytime soon if the activity remains an exercise in futility.
The prevailing belief: the lady mayor is dead.
Or is it the mayor may be just hiding elsewhere, which is why nobody has been found so far, making sense of the situation?
Counsel for Niño,lawyer Gerardo Carillo, said one of the things mentioned in the counter-affidavit for the parricide case is that the lady mayor is alive and in Dubai allegedly with her Italian boyfriend.
“Duna mi report ngatuasa Dubai, but we need to validate that,” said Carillo in a radio interview. “We will be confirming… these are raw reports, these can be best elevated during trial,” the lawyer added.
It is possible, the lawyer said, the lady mayor may have reportedly left the country via the backdoor, which could explain why there is no record of her leaving the country through normal ports of entry and exit.
When asked where the reports came, the lawyer said the media were the ones floated the reports.
The lawyer said there is a plan to get the affidavit of two persons, including some media members in Bohol allegedly able to call the lady mayor’s phone and converse with her, hours after the supposed slay.
Boniel’s counsel will file a motion to ask a consolidation of all cases in one sala so it would not be much of a hassle since there is no need to travel to and fro.
US NAVY HELP
On Wednesday, the United States Navy has been reported to join in the search and retrieval operations, to look for the remains of the slain lady mayor.
However, the Philippine Navy said the arrival of the US Navy personnel near the area of operation is just part of the exercise being conducted by the two navies, said a report from ABS-CBN news.
Reports said the US Navy was using equipment that may help find the body.
Meanwhile, one of the divers from Bien Unido was rescued after the oxygen tank got depleted on Wednesday. He dived to a depth of 250 feet. He was brought to a nearby hospital.
Reports said the diver from Bien Unido found a possible piece of evidence. The diver was reported to be out of danger.
A piece of blanket was found by the divers as laboratory tests have been done to find out whether a stain is from human blood.
Cases have been filed in court against the driver and the cousin of the board member for parricide last Wednesday.
Parricide charges were filed against the driver Randel Lupas and the board member’s cousin RiolitoBoniel. They are being charged for the alleged conspiracy to kill the lady mayor.
Regional Intelligence Division chief Sr. Supt. Jonathan Cabal said nothing was done to coax the witnesses to tell something, as he said the witnesses were plainly telling the truth.
Cabal said he is throwing support to the witnesses all the way.
However, a counsel for Riolito and Lupas, Inocenciodela Serna, said the two were not informed about their rights. They were not allowed to file any counter affidavit to clear their names. Affidavit were taken from the two implicating anybody, nevertheless charges filed against the two.
Riolito and Lupas told ABS-CBN news that they were not forced to tell what they know.
Charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention have been filed against BM Boniel in connection with the allegations made by Angela Leyson, the best friend of the slain lady mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel. (Dave Albarado)