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Slain Bohol mayor’s kin ask cops to keep on searching for body

MISSING? Bien Unido Bohol Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

CEBU CITY — The family of Mayor Gisela Boniel of Bien Unido, Bohol has broken their silence and asked the police to continue their efforts to recover her body.

“We, the family of Gisela Bendong Boniel, are deeply saddened for this sudden loss. We are closely coordinating with the authorities. Our main priority now is to locate her body,” according to a note distributed to reporters on Wednesday.

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“The case is now in the hands of authorities and we are certain that justice for our sister will be served,” it added.

Police learned that Gisela’s body was dumped into the sea between Bien Unido town in Bohol and Caubian Island in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, after she was allegedly shot in the head by her husband, Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel last June 7. Niño and seven others are facing a parricide complaint at the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly killing Gisela.

Gisela’s siblings stressed that they were not asking for any financial assistance in trying to recover their sister’s body.

“Rumors have been circulating that the family is asking an amount for the retrieval (operations). We would like to inform our friends, relatives and Gisela’s friends that the family is not asking for any
amount or solicitation for the retrieval of the body or for any purpose,” they said.

They also asked the public to respect their privacy. Gisela, Air Asia’s first female pilot, is a native of Iligan City.

Three of her relatives from Iligan City and Siquijor showed up at the Hilton Wharf in Barangay Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday morning to join in the search and retrieval operation.

But they came a little late and instead waited for the search and retrieval team to return.

Gisela’s aunt, Angeles Bendong said they heard about the victim’s death from news reports last week, prompting them to travel to Lapu-Lapu City to get first hand updates from authorities.

Caubian Island, Lapu-Lapu City (Wikipedia maps)

“We hope that justice will be served, and that all the persons responsible for her death will be incarcerated. We also hope that her body will be recovered,” she said in an interview.

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Gisela’s father died years ago while her ailing mother has been living in Iligan City, Bendong said. Gisela’s aunt was accompanied by her son Oscar and another relative Jess Bendong in going to Lapu-Lapu City.

Oscar appealed to the people of Bien Unido to express their support to the mayor whom they elected into office last year. Acting Bien Unido Mayor Rene Borinaga, in a report over DYTR in Bohol, said town officials agreed to donate P100,000 to PRO-7 to help defray the costs in the ongoing search and retrieval operations.

Borinaga assumed as acting mayor on Tuesday and then met with her department heads and councilors to discuss about releasing the funds for the search of their missing mayor.

The search for Gisela may have to end next week. “We’re looking at a period of 15 days, since we started the search and retrieval operations last June 8,” said Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) in an interview on Wednesday.

“Once we utilize the necessary equipment and still we could not find the body, then we have to stop,” he added.  SFM

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TAGS: Angeles Bendong, Bien Unido municipality, Bohol, Caubian Island, Central Visayas Regional Police, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Crime, Gisela Boniel, Justice, kidnapping. shooting, Lapu-Lapu city, law, mayor, missing, missing body, Murder, Niño Rey Boniel, parricide, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, search and retrieval operations, search operations, underwater search
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