Bohol politician Niño Rey Boniel pleads guilty to killing wife

Ryan Macasero
Bohol politician Niño Rey Boniel pleads guilty to killing wife

PILOT. Gisela Boniel is pictured in front of a commercial jet.

Gisela Boniel's Facebook page

Gisela Boniel was the mayor of Bien Unido town and the first female commercial pilot hired by Philippines AirAsia. She was 40 when she was killed in 2017.

CEBU, Philippines – Niño Rey Boniel, former mayor of Bien Unido town in Bohol and provincial board member, pleaded guilty to homicide at a Lapu-Lapu City Court on Tuesday, February 8, for the 2017 killing of his wife Gisela Bendong-Boniel.

Amando Virgil Ligutan, the private prosecutor working with Gisela’s family, said Boniel agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, five years after he was arrested for the killing. 

“We have yet to finish presentation of evidence for the prosecution and the accused proposed for a plea bargain, that they will plead guilty to a lesser offense of homicide, instead of parricide and murder,” Ligutan told Rappler in an interview. 

Niño Rey was sentenced to eight years and one day to 14 years imprisonment by Lapu-Lapu Regional Trial Court Branch 70 Presiding Judge Christine Muga-Abad.

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Gisela’s body was believed to have been thrown into the sea between the islands of Caubian and Olango off Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu after she was killed on June 7, 2017. Her body though was never found.

The prosecution during the trial pointed to marital problems as the motive behind the killing.

A former commercial pilot, Gisela was serving as mayor of Bien Unido at the time she went missing and later presumed dead. Niño was a member of the Bohol provincial board. Gisela was 40 years old when she died.

Ligutan said Gisela’s family was satisfied that justice had been served, even with the lesser charge.

“Five years after the killing, Niño Rey Boniel finally admitted to killing his wife, former Mayor Gisela Boniel. Justice has been served,” Ligutan said.

Niño Rey still faces separate case of serious illegal detention and kidnapping at the Cebu City Regional Trial Court. He could face a life sentence if convicted on this charge. 

Before becoming a mayor of Bien Unido in 2016, Gisela was hired by Philippines AirAsia, becoming the first female pilot to work for the airline.  –

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.