THE body of Bien Unido, Bohol Mayor Gisela Boniel must be found. Because it would help prosecute those accused of kidnapping and killing her. And because Catholics and other Christians must bury their dead.
For those reasons, the search for Gisela has been going on since June 8, the day after she was illegally detained, shot and her body dumped into sea waters.
A misinformed but common belief is that “corpus delicti” or body of the crime requires the body of the victim to be produced. Only partly true: what stronger proof of death than the dead person, in this case, Gisela’s body?
Crime sans corpus
Yet, in the absence of the body, evidence of the act of killing and its commission by the accused would be enough. Proof of the killing of Mayor Gisela plus proof that her husband Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel did it equals “corpus delicti” or body of the crime.
They can’t give up the search too soon. Besides protocol on crime investigation, there’s respect for tradition and belief. Catholics believe in “victory over everlasting death,” which Jesus Christ exemplified by his death and resurrection. The funeral, preferably with the body or remains of the dead, is one’s “final commendation” to God by the Church, “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says.
Picking up tab
But who has the obligation to search for Gisela other than the police? Not the husband who allegedly admitted the killing. Maybe her blood relatives who cry justice for the killing and would like Gisela to rest in peace. For now, the search has been undertaken solely by the Lapu-Lapu police; she was said to have been shot dead and dumped in the city’s territorial waters and thus the crime falls in the citys jurisdiction.
But the crime of kidnapping and illegal detention was committed in Bohol. Tagbilaran City would’ve interest too in the retrieval of the body to prosecute the crime committed in its territory. Bien Unido reportedly promised to pitch in money for the retrieval of its mayor’s body although regulations don’t seem to cover a situation where cost of crime investigation must be shared between two or more local governments where the crimes occur.
It’s standard practice of the police to locate Gisela’s body. And also in its interest. The attempt to wrap it with a fish net, weighed down with big stones, and throw it into the sea, showed the perversity of the attempt to get away with murder, which could firm up the state’s case.
And it’s Christian faith that sustains the search. Put her to rest, her body in a consecrated cemetery, not in some sea floor, vulnerable to the elements.
What are the chances of Gisela being found? Surely, better than the chances of a politician wife being shot dead by her politician husband. The guy wasn’t thinking of the next election, dammit.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 15, 2017.
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