MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Monday he will meet with his undersecretary who ordered the withdrawal of parricide charges against a Bohol official tagged in his wife's death last year.
Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo’s resolution of the petition for review filed by Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel also ordered the withdrawal of murder charges against Boniel’s co-accused Willy Hoylar and Restituto Magoncia, Jr., who were tagged in the killing of Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.
“I will talk to Usec. Orceo today and resolve whatever needs to be resolved about this issue,” Aguirre, who said he learned of the January 29 resolution only over the weekend, told reporters.
Boniel, Hoylar, and Magoncia have been indicted before the Lapu-Lapu City Regional Trial Court.
The town mayor was allegedly shot dead by Board Member Boniel on June 7 and thrown off a boat in Caubian Island.
In the 12-page petition for review resolution, the DOJ said the Bohol trial courts have jurisdiction over the cases because a pending kidnapping case is with a Bohol court.
The resolution argued that the killing cannot be treated separately from the kidnapping, and the charges should be for the special complex crime of kidnapping with murder.
“The killing, if found by the prosecutor’s office in Bohol to have been committed, could not be considered a separate crime. 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,” the resolution stated.
Lawyer for the victim’s family, Amando Virgil Ligutan, however, pointed out that the DOJ itself formally asked the Supreme Court to transfer the venue of trial of the cases from Bohol to Cebu, which the high court granted in a resolution dated November 7, 2017.
Ligutan said the review resolution is a “temporary setback.”
“The family is utterly disappointed with the latest resolution of Department of Justice Undersecretary Reynante B. Orceo. Note that the Secretary of Justice, Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre II, already created a DOJ panel to prosecute the parricide case against Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel for the killing of former Bien Unido Mayor Gisela B. Boniel. This was after the family of former Bien Unido Mayor Gisela B. Boniel visited the DOJ Secretary to seek legal help. Thus, Undersecretary Orceo’s resolution sends a wrong signal to the family and to the public at large. The family hopes that the DOJ will rectify itself on the matter the soonest possible time,” Ligutan said over the weekend.
A motion for reconsideration will be filed by the victim’s family.