Julian Ongpin, the son of businessman Roberto Ongpin and a person of interest in the death of painter Bree Jonson, has been released while police continue their investigation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Tuesday.
“Nagdesisyon ang provincial prosecutor’s office na palayin si Ginoong Ongpin habang iniimbestigahan ang kaso,” PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said in a live video.
(The prosecutor’s office decided to release Ongpin while the investigation is ongoing.)
This was confirmed by Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, who said Ongpin was ordered released by the inquest prosecutor in La Union pending the preliminary investigation into the complaint.
“The inquest prosecutor of La Union deemed it proper to conduct a regular preliminary investigation of the case to give the law enforcers the opportunity to submit additional evidence to further prove the case for possession of dangerous drugs (cocaine) and to investigate further if there was ‘foul play’ which resulted in the death of Bree Jonson,” she said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said it will issue an order for the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to monitor the travels of Julian Ongpin.
In a message to reporters on Tuesday, Guevarra said a lookout bulletin would be issued after a complaint for possession of dangerous drugs was filed by the police against Ongpin.
“The DOJ may further consider asking the court for the issuance of a preliminary hold departure order depending on the progress of the preliminary investigation,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra also confirmed receiving a request from Jonson’s mother to place Ongpin on the lookout list or issue a hold departure order.
Police found Jonson’s body on Saturday when it responded to a report of an alleged suicide at a La Union beach resort where she was staying with Ongpin.
A complaint for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 had been filed against Ongpin. Police said he tested positive for cocaine while they recovered 12.6 grams of the illegal substance.
Guevarra said he has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to either assist the PNP or conduct a parallel probe “as may be needed.”
Eleazar said the PNP was awaiting the results of the autopsy on the remains of Jonson to determine if more charges would be filed against Ongpin.
The PNP chief said this was proof that the “PNP applies the law without fear or favor.”
“Mayaman man o mahirap, patas ang pagtupad natin ng batas dahil hindi lamang dangal ng PNP ang nakataya dito kundi ang pagtitiwala ng sambayanang Pilipino on the basic but important concept of rule of law,” he said.
(Rich or poor, we will enforce the law fairly because not only is the pride of the PNP at stake but also the trust of the Filipino people on the basic but important concept of the rule of law.) — DVM/KBK, GMA News