Bohol town mayor killed; husband is prime suspect

Junrey Nadela, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2017 06:39 PM | Updated as of Jun 09 2017 07:56 PM

Mayor's body dumped at sea, says witness

Ethan Boniel, cousin of the mayor's husband, said Rey shot Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel using his own gun. Video courtesy of Edgar Escalante.

(UPDATED) The mayor of Bien Unido town in Bohol was killed Wednesday allegedly by her husband over personal problems, police said.

Authorities are now conducting search and retrieval operations to find the body of Mayor Gisela Boniel, who was shot dead and then dumped at sea by a group of men Wednesday, allegedly led by her husband Niño Rey Boniel.

Police on Thursday arrested the husband, a Bohol Provincial Board Member, the primary suspect behind the killing, said Police Regional Office-7 Chief Noli Taliño. 

Investigation showed that the couple had marital problems, police said. 

Niño Rey on Friday admitted they had marital problems but said he would never kill his own wife. He also swore to this in his affidavit. 

Taliño, however, said Niño Rey admitted the crime in a casual conversation. 

As of writing, Niño Rey and his lawyer, Atty. Leilani Villarino, refused to issue an official statement on Taliño's statement. 

Ethan Boniel, the suspect's cousin, said Niño Rey shot the mayor using his own gun.

He told police that after Niño Rey shot his wife, he and several others put her body inside a net and tied it to a 30-kilo rock. He then drove the boat to Caubian Island in Cebu to dump the body.

He said he helped his cousin execute the crime because he was indebted to the provincial official. 

Police reports indicate that the mayor was first kidnapped by her husband and several others inside a dive camp in Bien Unido.

The slain town chief was at the time with a female friend, Angela Leyson.

On Wednesday, men allegedly tried to enter the spa where the mayor was staying. Leyson, meanwhile, said she was tortured by the men and was forced to board a vehicle so she could go to Tubigon town, then ride a fast craft to Cebu. 

Taliño said witnesses saw the mayor being asked to board a pump boat. From there, gunshots were heard.

He added that they are coordinating with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for the search and retrieval operation of Mayor Gisel's body in Caubian Island.

He said they will be needing a fish finder from BFAR and more technical divers and volunteers to help in the operation. 

The bad weather and the strong current prevented the team from finding Mayor Gisel's body during the Thursday night and Friday morning dive.

Divers are having difficulties searching for the body of Mayor Gisela Boniel in the sea surrounding Caubian Island in Lapu-Lapu City. They have asked for the help of the Philippine Coast Guard to retrieve the body. Video courtesy of Edgar Escalante, ABS-CBN News.