DOJ to Ongpin: Submit to court’s jurisdiction

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The son of billionaire and former trade minister Roberto Ongpin should submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court following the filing of a drug possession charge against him, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.

The criminal case against Julian Ongpin, 29, was filed before the regional trial court in San Fernando City, La Union yesterday, according to prosecutor Honey Delgado, spokesperson for the Department of Justice-National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS)’s Office of the Prosecutor General.

She added that they have no information yet as to which court or judge was assigned to handle the case.

The DOJ-NPS earlier said that the possession of 12.6 grams of cocaine, a violation of Section 11 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous drugs Act of 2002, is a non-bailable offense.

Explaining the process, Guevarra said “the judge to whom the case will be raffled will first determine the existence of probable cause based on the records submitted to the court by the DOJ panel of state prosecutors. If the judge finds probable cause, he or she will issue a warrant of arrest.”

With a case filed, Guevarra said he believes “it is best for the accused to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court so that he will have all the time and opportunity to defend himself in a fair and impartial trial.”

Waiting for a warrant

Meanwhile, the Sunga Salandanan and Ampuan Law Offices, representing the family of visual artist Bree Jonson, said they were pleased with the filing of the case against Ongpin and are waiting for the court to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Both Ongpin and Jonson reportedly tested positive for illegal drug use.

“Bree’s family is happy that a case will finally be filed against Julian Ongpin on his drug possession charge. They are looking forward to the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Julian for this case,” the law firm said.

“They are likewise hopeful that the National Bureau of investigation’s investigation on Bree’s death will be over soon so the legal team, in collaboration with the NBI, can move forward with the filing of a separate case for murder or homicide,” it added.

While there had been claims that Jonson, 30, committed suicide, her family believes that there might have been foul play that led to her death. The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said the artist died of asphyxia.

Ongpin was Jonson’s last known companion when she was found unconscious in a room at the Flotsam and Jetsam Resort in La Union last Sept. 18.

Jonson’s mother, Sally, said on Monday that Ongpin’s indictment was a sign that “God gave me a flicker of hope.”

“Jail Julian Ongpin for violating RA 9165,” she said, adding that “still we have to pray harder. We should call on the judge in La Union to issue an arrest warrant against Julian and not allow him to pay another bail.”

Sally said the NBI has interviewed “a handful of individuals who can shed light on Bree’s death.”

She said “appropriate cases for murder, homicide shall be filed as soon as the investigation is over.”

­PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the police would extend any form of assistance in the probe of Jonson’s death.

“Just like the NBI and Jonson’s family, we wish to find out the truth so we are ready to help in the investigation,” he said. – Ghio Ong, Emmanuel Tupas

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with