I WOULD like to remind the police unit handling the parricide case against Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel, who is accused of killing his wife, Bien Unido, Bohol Mayor Gesila Boniel, not to be complacent in handling the investigation even if the case was filed before the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office. At this stage, investigators should closely coordinate with the prosecutor’s office, especially in presenting the evidences on hand. On the other hand, the police should gather more evidence to further strengthen their case. They should find the mayor’s dead body.
The investigation, the prosecution and the trial on the merit of the case up to the conviction of the accused are three different stages. The police might have gathered solid evidences but the prosecution failed to prove the accused’s guilt in court. Any doubt during the trial might lead to the acquittal of the accused. Remember that the lawyers hired by Boniel are not dumb. They are experienced trial lawyers and they will do their best for their client to be acquitted.
Remember the case of Bella Ruby Santos who was charged for allegedly abducting and killing six-year-old Ella Joy Pique together with her British boyfriend? The police claimed they had a tight case against her. Santos’s lawyers headed by Atty. Rameses Villagonzalo opted to a demurrer to evidence or a sort of a “reverse trial,” claiming there was no solid proof that Santos committed the crime. And what happened? Without going into a full-blown trial, Bella was acquitted.
In a criminal case, the burden of proof is with the prosecution, which also relies on the evidences gathered by the investigating agency. If there is not enough evidence to prove the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, then the defense should file a demurrer to evidence. The accused need not present evidence on his behalf. And once the accused is acquitted, it can no longer be appealable to the higher court and the accused cannot also be charged for the same crime because it will fall under double jeopardy.
In Niño’s case, defense lawyers are already starting to create doubt. Former Cebu City councilor Gerry Carillo already questioned the manner of Niño and his cohorts’ arrest. Carillo claimed that Niño’s cohorts, who already executed affidavits tagging him as the one who killed his wife, were forced to do so. Carillo wants the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to intervene in this matter.
Well, on this theory, maybe the media, especially the TV news team that took a video of the admission of Riolito Boniel, the pump boat operator and cousin of Niño, will play a vital role in debunking Carillo’s claim. The media did not coerce or intimidate Riolito when he confessed during their interviews. Unless Riolito will change his testimony. The prosecution can ask the assistance of the media to prove that Riolito was not forced to sign his affidavit. Carillo is also floating the theory that Gisela is still alive. He said that Gisela picked up the phone a few hours after she was reportedly killed. This prove that she is still alive.
My friend Gerry just wants to confuse the public. Niño could have set up the phone call to make it look like his wife was still alive. Angela Leyson, the mayor’s best friend who was with her when they were allegedly physically assaulted by Niño’s group, said Niño took Gisela’s bag. A few hours later, he was caught on security cameras with the bag. Ergo, the mayor’s phone could have been inside and Niño used it. Minarukoy nang ilang depensa.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 19, 2017.
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