THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the complaint against Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel and his cohorts due to “jurisdictional issue.”
Reynante Orceo, the DOJ undersecretary, granted the petition for review filed by Boniel, who sought to reverse the resolution by the Office of the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor, which indicted him for parricide.
Orceo “reversed and set aside” the resolution indicting Boniel of parricide and directed the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor's Office to withdraw parricide charge sheet, which was raffled to the sala of Judge Ferdinand Collantes, of the Regional Trial Court branch 65 in Lapu-Lapu City.
Apart from Boniel, Orceo also directed the prosecutors to withdraw the murder case against Boniel's two alleged cohorts – Willy Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia.
“To go on with their trial borders on the ludicrous sans the alleged main actor,” read Orceo's 12-page resolution.
The Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor's Office received the DOJ's resolution on March 23 and has until April 2 to comply with the directive.
The prosecution panel, led by lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, will file a motion for reconsideration (see separate story).
The DOJ recently reaped a whirlpool of criticisms for making alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles as a state witness; for dismissing the drug charges against suspected drug lords Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa; and for allegedly meddling in the cases filed by Mayor Tomas Osmeña against SM Prime Holdings Inc. and BDO Unibank Inc.
In Boniel's case, the Office of the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor indicted Niño for parricide for the disappearance of his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel last June 7, 2017.
The panel of prosecutors also charged Boniel's cohorts – Allan delos Reyes, Jr., Wilfredo Hoylar, Jr., Lobo Boniel, Randel Lupas, Restituto Magoncia, Jr. and Riolito “Etad” Boniel – with murder before the Regional Trial Court.
Likewise, Prosecutor Aida Digaum-Langcamon found evidence to charge the respondents with kidnapping and serious illegal detention in court.
The case stemmed from the kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges filed by Angela Gamalinda-Leyson, Gisela’s best friend, and Leyson’s 17-year-old son, against Niño before the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Langcamon indicted Niño for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
Leyson charged Niño after she and her son were allegedly held by him in the Bien Unido Double Barrier Reef Dive Camp last June 7.
Niño allegedly shot Gisela on June 7 and threw her body off Caubian Island in Lapu-Lapu City. The defense wanted the judge to remand the case to the Bohol Provincial Prosecutor’s Office or consolidate it in the kidnapping case pending before the RTC in Talibon, Bohol.
But government prosecutors said that the Department of Justice circulars cited by Niño in his motion are “misplaced” since these are applicable only to appealed cases.
They also argued that the defense’s motion was filed simply to delay the proceedings. The prosecution added that the issues raised by Niño in his pleading should be determined during the trial proper.
The defense said the Office of the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor violated the Department of Justice circulars when it filed the case in court without giving Niño the opportunity to file a motion for reconsideration.
In the resolution, Orceo, the DOJ undersecretary, gave weight to Boniel's argument that the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor had no jurisdiction over the case.
“Filing of a complaint for parricide in Lapu-Lapu City may result in a multiplicity of suits,” said Orceo.
The undersecretary said the charge against Boniel should be only one for a special complex crime of kidnapping with murder, and that the killing should not be separately treated for kidnapping.
“The kidnapping, which allegedly took place in Bohol would be considered a necessary means to commit the murder. And since the investigation commenced in Bohol, it should take cognizance of the case,” read Orceo's resolution.
Since Hoylar and Magoncia were charged with allegedly conspiring with Boniel, Orceo ruled the charges against them should also be withdrawn from the court.
Orceo gave the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor's Office 10 days to withdraw the parricide case against Boniel and the murder case against Hoylar and Magoncia.