From the great beyond

It was the biggest story of the day.

On June 7, 2017, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel had been shot by her own husband, her body wrapped in a fishnet and weighted with stones, then thrown into the sea, according to a witness.

Her husband, Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel had been detained by police. But 10 days after Gisela’s killing, divers had yet to find her body.

Then SunStar Superbalita [Cebu] editor Rolando “Dodong” Morallo’s phone rang.

“I am the wife of Bonel,” said the female voice on the line.

Morallo froze.

“I got your number from (Superbalita columnist) Roger Serna,” the voice continued. “Sorry for the short notice, but we have an event this evening. Can you give me the number of the sports editor?”

When Morallo asked why, the voice said, “I am the wife of Bonel Balingit.”

The woman on the phone was the wife of a former pro basketball player from Cebu, not the Bien Unido mayor.

Undressing for a story

While still with Bombo Radyo, Futch Anthony Inso and Fritz Menguito, who was then with Kampilan News, decided to produce an investigative report on the political conflict in Barangay Agus in Lapu-Lapu City. The office of the City Fishery Aquatic Resource Management Council (CFARMC) was still being managed by the defeated barangay captain, and the barangay tanods assigned to the area had complained of harassment.

The CFARMC office was located on an islet in the middle of the sea, so Inso and Menguito removed their pants and shoes, so as not to get these wet. Wading through the sea clad only in their T-shirts and underwear, they expected to get a good story. Then they reached the area and found the office closed.

Was that gunfire?

After a raid by Cebu police yielded high-powered firearms, Cebu Daily News reporter Ador Mayol positioned himself on top of a wooden box to get a better view. But then the wood collapsed under his weight, and when it did, it sounded like a gun had been fired.

All the policemen turned to Mayol. Even Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office 7, drew his gun. The red-faced Mayol said it was a good thing they didn’t shoot him.

Working… with feelings

For three days in 2013, dyAB’s Angelica Faye Saniel covered a demolition in Barangay Apas, Cebu City. On the third day, she visited some homeowners. Mayor Michael Rama was expected to meet with them. While she made a short stop to the area where the demolition had begun, however, she learned that Rama had arrived.

Running to him, Saniel dropped the battery of her radio. Reporters use radios to monitor when they can come in with their reports. Then the dyAB desk called, saying, “And now, here’s a report from Angie Saniel…”

Saniel was left with no choice but to deliver her report immediately, which she did, she said, “with feelings,” saying, “And now let’s listen to Mayor Mike Rama…” only to learn later that she was still off the air.

“Gi-ilad ra ko nga on air na (They just tricked me into thinking I was already on the air) to check if I had been monitoring the news.”

Research by Ogherty B. Lopez and Cherry Ann T. Lim

(CJJ12 was published in hardcopy in September 2017.)