IT’S wrong to say the search for the body of Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel stopped when divers ended their search efforts. For Gisela’s family, the search will continue, only that there would no longer be a physical manifestation of it. Families that lose, for one reason or another, the body of one of its members to the sea or somewhere else don’t end the search for the missing.
But the police-led search for Gisela’s body did officially end last Sunday, 26 days since it was launched days after witnesses talked of how Gisela was killed allegedly by her husband, Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel, with her body later wrapped in a fishing net with two rocks to weigh it down, before it was thrown in the seas off Caubian Island in Lapu-Lapu City.
“Talagang dito na lang. We cannot do this forever kasi mauubos din yung resources natin,” said Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Noli Taliño. Of course, nobody was expecting the search to go on forever. It had to end sometime, and last Sunday was it. Resources, and the availability of divers for a long-drawn search, are not inexhaustible.
This would mean the police can now focus on strengthening the case filed against Niño Rey, who has hired the best legal defense team he could afford to prove his innocence to the charge in court. Admittedly, the police’s case was weakened a bit by their failure to find the body.
This development would give the camp of Niño Rey the impetus to insist on its claim that Gisela is now in the Middle East after leaving the country via the country’s backdoor (Mindanao). But that claim is bound to go the way of the same concoction by those behind the abduction of Redemptorist priest Rudy Romano on July 11, 1985. Didn’t they say Romano had gone to the hills to join the rebels there?
In a way, Gisela’s relatives are luckier than those of Romano because of the difficulty to pin the guilt on his kidnappers because of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. The police and the Lapu-Lapu City prosecutors who filed in court the parricide case against Niño Rey are in a better position to make their case stick despite failing to find Gisela’s body.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on July 18, 2017.
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