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More divers join search for mayor’s body

By: Mars W. Mosqueda, Jr.

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Divers from the Province of Bohol are now joining the operation to locate and retrieve the body of Bein Unido, Bohol Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel in the waters off Caubian Island.

Divers, however, still failed to locate the body of the lady mayor nine days after she was allegedly shot dead and then dumped into the sea.

The captain of the pumpboat, Riolito Boniel, told the police that it was Boniel’s husband, Bohol Board Member Niño Rey Boniel, who shot the mayor.

Riolito accompanied authorities and divers in the area where the body was allegedly dumped. But the search remained futile as of yesterday.

Arce Avenido, Bien Unido Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Council officer, dispeled earlier reports that the town’s officials showed no interest in the death of their own mayor.

Avenido said a team of divers arrived in Lapu-Lapu City on June 9 to join the search and retrieval operation but the team was not able to meet with the other divers.

Meanwhile, authorities have extracted DNA samples from one of the four siblings of the lady mayor who arrived in Lapu-Lapu City to witness the search and retrieval operation.

The DNA samples, according to Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, will be used to compare the blood stains found on the pumpboat boarded by Gisela’s body before it was dumped into the waters off Caubian Island.

Taliño did not release the names of the mayor’s siblings upon their request.

The police filed parricide charges against Niño Rey Boniel and eight others in relation to the death of Bendong-Boniel.