The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been asked to reverse the finding of probable cause to indict Julian Ongpin, son of former Trade secretary and businessman Roberto Ongpin, for illegal drug charges before a regional trial court in La Union for lack of evidence to hold him liable for the alleged crime.
In a 32-page petition for review, Ongpin appealed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to dismiss the criminal case against him on the ground that the panel of prosecutors had no evidence to support its findings that he was in possession of cocaine, which was the basis used for his indictment for violation of Section 11 (possession of illegal drugs) of Republic Act 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“The evidence relied upon by the panel does not establish probable cause that respondent-appellant was in possession of the subject drugs,” the petition stated.
The petitioner-appellant stressed that the DOJ prosecutors had committed lapses in appreciating the evidence presented by Ongpin which would prove his innocence to the alleged crime.
Ongpin pleaded for the withdrawal of the information filed against him by the DOJ panel of prosecutors before the San Fernando City, La Union Regional Trial Court Branch 27, as well as the lifting of the Precautionary Hold Department Order (PHDO) issued against him by the said court.
According to him, the assailed resolution and the evidence relief upon only proves that “the pouch where the cocaine was recovered was placed on the second bed.”
The petitioner stressed that the panel was not even incisive enough to notice that the drugs were not among the recovered belongings of Ongpin.
Ongpin was a person of interest because he was reportedly the last companion of artist Bree Jonson, who was found dead in a La Union hostel on September 18.
In his petition, Ongpin attached some pictures taken during the crime scene investigation, as he stressed that the alleged drugs were in a bag that contained medication in the name of a “Breanna Patricia Agunod”, who was later identified as Bree Jonson after she was found unconscious in a hostel room in La Union and was pronounced dead in a hospital .
“[T]he medication consisting of ‘lamotrigine’ belonged to [Bree] is established by the copies of the prescription dated 29 August 2021, issued by Dr. George S. Soo for ‘Breanna Patricia Agunod’…” the petition states.
“Further, a closer look at the SOCO’s picture[s] show that there is a Philippine passport among the items recovered with the subject drugs,” it said.
According to Ongpin, had the said passport been opened, it would have revealed and settled to the panel the true identity of the person who owns the bag.
Ongpin also accused the panel of ignoring the alleged gross and substantial violation of the chain of custody rule by the authorities.
In view of these alleged lapses, Ongpin asked the DOJ to reverse and set aside the ruling of his drug case and dismissed the same.