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Ongpin seeks dismissal of drug charges

/ 04:47 AM October 25, 2021
Bree Jonson (left) and Julian Ongpin

Bree Jonson (left) and Julian Ongpin (Photos from @breejonson/Instagram Account and Julian Ongpin Young Artists/Facebook Page)

MANILA, Philippines — Billionaire scion Julian Ongpin has refuted the illegal drug charges filed against him by the Department of Justice (DOJ), arguing that the drugs had never been found in his possession as he cast doubts on the integrity of local police collection of evidence.

In a 19-page omnibus motion filed by Ongpin dated Oct. 20, the son of business tycoon Roberto Ongpin asked the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, La Union, to deny the issuance of a warrant of arrest and dismiss the case outright “for lack of probable cause.”

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Ongpin, represented by his legal counsel Dennis Manalo, also assailed the DOJ for publicizing his indictment without first furnishing him a copy of the resolution.

As Ongpin has yet to avail of remedies within the 15-day period to file a motion for reconsideration, the court was urged to defer the issuance of warrant of arrest and summon the DOJ to present additional evidence.

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To deny such claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him the full measure of his right to due process, Ongpin said.

The DOJ’s recent indictment of Ongpin for illegal drug possession came alongside the investigation of the death of artist Bree Jonson in a La Union resort room she had shared with Ongpin, where local police said they also found cocaine.

If the court won’t be inclined to defer the issuance of a warrant of arrest, Ongpin asked for the dismissal of the case, arguing that the DOJ had “clearly failed to establish probable cause” to arrest him, adding that the indictment was “anchored on mere speculations and erroneous inferences” of violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

First, Ongpin argued that the evidence which the DOJ relied upon only proved that “the pouch where the cocaine was recovered was placed on the second bed.”

“Indeed, the DOJ was unable to present any evidence that the accused is the owner, custodian, or possessor, of the black pouch, brown pouch, or white pouch or bag, where the subject drugs were supposedly recovered,” Ongpin said.

Ongpin added that the DOJ had no evidence that he had known about the presence of the pouch and bag containing the drugs.

Commenting on the DOJ’s citation of the Supreme Court ruling on People vs Tira, Ongpin pointed out the qualification by the high court that the prosecution must prove that the accused had knowledge of the existence and presence of the drug in the place under his control and dominion and the character of the drug.

Ongpin’s motion also called out as “impermissible” the local authorities’ noncompliance with the rule on “chain of custody,” referring to the mandated method of authenticating evidence when the drugs were seized.

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