Police deny coercion of witnesses in Bohol mayor’s slaying

AN OFFICIAL of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID)-Central Visayas said the witnesses in the murder of Bien Unido, Bohol mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel were not coerced.

“It was all their voluntary narration,” said Senior Superintendent Jonathan Cabanal, RID-Central Visayas chief, referring to Riolito Boniel, first cousin of Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel, and drivers Edgar Tapere and Randell Lupas.

Cabanal said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is welcome to look at the situation, as the lawyers of Niño Rey are threatening to go to CHR.

“The lawyers are using scare tactics like going to CHR. They are welcome here. I will be debanking all accusations,” said Cabanal.

He added that they did not do anything to Roilito when the media interviewed him on June 8.

“Wala kaming ginawa (We didn’t do anything) that will intimidate him and reshape his will to tell the truth. Nagsasabi ng totoo ating mga witnesses (Our witnesses are telling the truth). I will support them all the way,” Cabanal said.

Lawyer Lane Pangilinan, the counsel of Angela Leyson, Gisela’s friend, also said the witnesses were not forced to testify.

“The report is not true. The three individuals were assisted properly and represented by independent counsels of their own choice,” Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile, Tapere said he sought the help of the police, as he fears for his life.

He faced the media on Wednesday morning, June 21. 

Tapere fetched Niño Rey from Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, and drove the board member to a subdivision in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, after the killing of Gisela.

The board member ordered Tapere to throw a plastic containing a paper bag. Tapere, who has been the board member’s driver for five years, said he did not ask what the paper bag contained.

Gisela was shot by her husband, Niño Rey, on June 7. Her body was thrown off Caubian Island in Lapu-Lapu City.

Niño Rey was charged with parricide, illegal detention and kidnapping. (With Franz Correa/SunStar Philippines)

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