NBI conducting second autopsy on body of Bree Jonson

NBI conducting second autopsy on body of Bree Jonson
Photo shows painter Bree Jonson who was found unconscious in a hostel room in San Juan, La Union.
Bree Jonson on Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation has finished conducting a second autopsy on the body of artist Bree Jonson, who was found unconscious in a hostel room in La Union last weekend.

NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin confirmed to Philstar.com in a text message on Thursday that they received a request from Jonson’s family and their lawyers. “We already did, started around 2:00 a.m. and concluded around 7 a.m. today,” he said.

Lavin said the specimen taken on Thursday morning “will be subjected to laboratory examinations.” He added that the NBI will also ask the Philippine National police to share pieces of evidence they recovered from the scene.

“Crime Scene Investigation Team (forensics) motored to La Union this morning to process the crime scene thereat,” he also said.

Jonson was found unconscious in a hostel room on Saturday morning. Police reported to finding cocaine in the room she shared with her last known companion, Julian Ongpin, son of tycoon Roberto Ongpin.

Ongpin claimed Jonson took her own life, but Jonson’s mother challenged this claim.

Initial report showed signs of struggle

Sunga Salandanan and Ampuan Law Offices said in a separate statement on Thursday morning that the NBI “shall conduct another autopsy in Manila.”

“Contrary to prior statements circulating on social media, the initial medicolegal report of Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center showed signs of struggle. There were bruises found in some other parts of Breanna’s body other than her neck,” they added.

The law firm also said that they, together with the NBI and the Philippine National Police, viewed the CCTV footage from the hostel. “Based on what we saw, Breanna and Julian had a heated altercation minutes before she was found unconscious in their hotel room,” they said.

No official cause of death has been established. While the police autopsy has been completed, Philippine National Police General Guillermo Eleazar said that police are still waiting for the final report. 

Police Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta, the regional director of Police Regional Office 1 Emmanuel Peralta, however, said that the initial finding is that Jonson died of asphyxia or loss of oxygen. He could not say what caused this.

A drug complaint was filed against Ongpin, but the inquest prosecutor deemed it proper to conduct a preliminary investigation instead to allow for the submission of additional evidence and look into whether there is “foul play,” the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

On Tuesday, he was placed on the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order following directives from the DOJ.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOJ may also consider seeking a PHDO, which investigating prosecutors ask from the courts, against Ongpin “depending on the progress of the preliminary investigation.” — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from Franco Luna

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 18, 2021 - 3:28pm

Follow this page for development on the death of Filipino artist Bree Jonson. Photo lifted from Bree Jonson's Instagram account.

October 18, 2021 - 3:28pm

State prosecutors resolve to indict Julian Ongpin, the last known companion of the late artist Bree Jonson, for possession of dangerous drugs under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

In a case briefer sent by Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar to reporters, the offense is non-bailable.

"The criminal information against Mr. Ongpin will be filed at the Regional Trial Court, San Fernando City, La Union," the cases briefer reads.

September 23, 2021 - 2:38pm

Julian Ongpin tells police he forced his way into the bathroom where he found artist Bree Jonson unconscious.

According to a report from ABS-CBN News, Ongpin claims that he broke through the bathroom door, where Jonson supposedly locked herself in.

Security footage released by the police shows Ongpin appeared to have an altercation with Jonson.

September 22, 2021 - 11:42am

The Philippine National says artist Bree Jonson tested positive for drug use based on the result of the test conducted by forensics experts.

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