Aguirre overrules Boniel case withdrawal

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has reversed its earlier decision ordering the Office of the Prosecutor of Lapu-Lapu to withdraw the parricide case against Bohol Provincial Board member Niño Rey Boniel and the murder case filed against two others over the death of former Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.

This, after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II intervened and granted the motion for reconsideration filed by Police Senior Superintendent Jonathan Cabal, the lead investigator in the kidnapping-murder of Gisela on Tuesday, March 27.

"Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the instant Motion for Reconsideration is granted and the assailed Resolution dated January 29, 2018 is hereby reversed and set aside. Consequently, the directive to the Office of the Prosecutor of Lapu-Lapu to withdraw the information for Parricide against Nino Rey Boniel and the Information for Murder against Willy Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia, Jr. is similarly reversed," the dispositive portion of the resolution read.

Aguirre overturned the decision a day after he discovered that Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo issued a resolution dated March 22 granting the petition for review filed by Boniel due to technicality issues.

Orceo said that the Office of the Bohol Provincial Prosecutor and not the Office of the Prosecutor of Lapu-Lapu should have filed the charges against the said respondents.

Gisela was reportedly abucted in Bohol in June 2017. She was shot dead in the waters of Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu, according to some witnesses.

In affirming the June 28, 2017 resolution of the Lapu-Lapu City prosecutors office, the DOJ said that it finds that the information for parricide sufficiently alleges that the offense was committed within the waters of Lapu-Lapu City where Niño allegedly killed and dumped the body of his wife.

Contrary to its earlier decision penned by Orceo, the DOJ said that the information for murder and parricide were properly filed.

"To rule that there is multiplicity of actions would run counter to that fundamental rule that venue is jurisdictional in criminal cases. As such, the complaint was properly filed with and the case must rightly be tried in the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-lapu City," the resolution stated.

The DOJ said that the fact that the kidnapping transpired in Bohol is of no moment.

"There is no multiplicity of actions because of the difference in territorial jurisdictions of the two separate and distinct crimes," it said.

The DOJ also clarified the information has already been filed at the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City, thus, the said court has already took cognizance of the mentioned cases.

"To rule that the information for Parricide should be withdrawn because of an alleged lack of jurisdiction would be violative of the rule on Adherence to Jurisdiction," the DOJ said.

It added: "We are mindful that we have duty to determine whether or not there is probable cause to indict Nino Boniel of the crime of parricide. This is an executive determination of probable cause which is entirely different from the judicial determination of probable cause."

Aguirre said that the recent move of the DOJ manifests that his office will not be a party to any perceived miscarriage of justice.

“We will apply the law and the pertinent rule without fear or favor to any case," he said. (SunStar Philippines)
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