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Ongpin asks DOJ to set aside indictment for drugs, files PetRev

November 7, 2021 Hector Lawas 218 views

THE scion of a wealthy family, Julian Ongpin, has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to junk the controversial drug case filed against him before a local court in La Union, insisting that he is innocent.

In a 32-page petition for review (PetRev) filed before the Office of Justice Secretary, Ongpin claimed the panel of prosecutors had no evidence to support its findings that he was in possession of cocaine, even as he was indicted 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 (of prosecutors) does not establish probable cause that respondent-appellant was in possession of the subject drugs,” the petition reads.

He said the DOJ prosecutors had committed lapses in appreciating the evidence he presented which would prove his innocence to the alleged crime.

Ongpin sought the withdrawal of the information filed against him by the DOJ 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.

He added that the assailed resolution and evidence relied upon only proves that “the pouch where the cocaine was recovered was placed on the second bed.”

“Contrary to its foregoing findings, the evidence indicates that respondent-apellant cannot be in constructive possession of the subject drugs,” Ongpin said.

Ongpin explained that the panel was not even incisive enough to notice that the drugs were not among the recovered belongings of him.

In his petition, Ongpin attached some photos 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 .

“The 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 claimed.

“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.”

Ongpin said 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.

“Certainly, it would not be respondent-appellant as his passport was not among the items recovered at the scene,” he averred.

He also accused the panel of ignoring the alleged gross and substantial violation of the chain of custody rule by the authorities.

“Based on verba legis, Sec. 21 of RA No. 9165, as amended, operates as long as there is seizure and confiscation of drugs. It does not distinguish between warrantless seizure of the drugs in a buy-bust operation and in the implementation of a search warrant,” Ongpin said in his petition.

“Accordingly, in every situation where there is seizure and confiscation of drugs, the presence of the accused, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, and any elected public official, is required during the physical inventory and taking of photographs of the seized drugs, because they shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.”

“The error of the panel in ignoring the chain of custody rule in this case is highlighted by the glaring absence of any attempt on record to even summon the respondent-appellant or any of the other essential witnesses to the crime scene during the marking, the physical inventory, and photographing of the subject drugs,” Ongpin added.