The Department of Justice (DOJ) will take over the case of Julian Roberto Ongpin, the 29-year-old son of a billionaire who is facing illegal drug use charges and is a person of interest on the death of a celebrated artist Bree Jonson.
Also, the investigating arm of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will work together with the DOJ’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the case.
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (OPP) of La Union previously handled the now controversial case.
OPP-La Union was directed to immediately transfer the entire records of the case to the OSJPS (Office of the Secretary of Justice Prosecution Staff), according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary and spokesperson Emmeline Aglipay-Villar on Friday.
Villar said DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra issued Department Order No. 229 that directed the transfer of the complaint from La Union to the central DOJ office.
“The order designated a panel of two prosecutors from the OSJPS to conduct the preliminary investigation of the complaint and to file the corresponding information/s in court if warranted by the evidence,” Villar told reporters in a text message.
The San Juan, La Union police charged Ongpin, the son of former Trade minister Roberto Ongpin, after 12.6 grams of cocaine were found inside the hostel room where he stayed with his girlfriend, Davao-based artist Bree Jonson.
Jonson, 30, was found unconscious and was declared dead in a hospital.
Ongpin tested positive for cocaine use but was ordered released by the prosecutor.
The autopsy report showed Jonson died of asphyxia but police said there was not enough evidence to charge Ongpin with her death.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Immigration said Ongpin has been included in the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order issued by the DOJ.
The result of Jonson’s histopathological exam has yet to be released.
The PNP, for its part, said it has been sharing information on the case NBI agents.
“The PNP and NBI has been cooperating for some days in the probe of this case, and there will be no clash of results in the search for what really happened in this incident,” said PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.