THE 29-year old son of billionaire Roberto Ongpin is not yet off the hook regarding the case for illegal possession and use of dangerous drugs filed against him by the Philippine National Police, officials told the Journal Group.
“Tuloy ang kaso niya for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, said Police Regional Office 1 director, Brigadier General Emmanuel B. Peralta in referring to Julian Ongpin who was ordered released from police custody by a local prosecutor last Monday.
Ongpin was initially placed under arrest after police recovered 12.6 grams of cocaine inside the room of the Floatsame Jetsom Resort in San Juan, La Union where the body of his girlfriend, 30-year old Bree Jonson was found last Saturday.
Ongpin tested positive for cocaine use. Jonson’s urine specimen likewise tested positive for the same drug.
WHY THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE?
Many people including lawyers and police investigators have questioned the move by Agoo, La Union Deputy Provincial Prosecutor Braulio Tade to order the release of Ongpin when many persons arrested for possession of very small amount of prohibited drugs or even its paraphernalia are jailed for days, weeks or months before they are allowed to post bail.
Tade said that the case recommended against Ongpin by the local police ‘is not proper to inquest proceedings’ and that “the apprehension of the respondent does not fall under any of the instances of where warrantless arrest is allowed.’
“Tade cited the complaint of the San Juan police station that after the woman was found responsive inside the hotel room and was brought to the hospital where she was declared dead upon arrival, the scene was cordoned by SOCO personnel from the PNP Crime Laboratory who found the white substances which turned out to be positive for cocaine. Ongpin, who tested positive for drugs was eventually arrested for illegal possession of drugs.
“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant case is deemed filed for purposes of preliminary investigation. The respondent is hereby subpoenaed to submit controverting evidence in his behalf within 10 days from receipt thereof after which the case is deemed submitted for resolution.
The police authority in custody of the above-named respondent is hereby directed to cause the release of the said respondent unless he is being detained for any other cause or causes,” Tade said.
Section 11 of RA 9165 which pertains to possession of dangerous drugs states that “the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall possess any dangerous drug in the following quantities, regardless of the degree of purity thereof: 10 grams or more of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride and marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil.”
Section 15 of RA 9165 which pertains to ‘use of dangerous drugs’ says that “a person apprehended or arrested, who is found to be positive for use of any dangerous drug, after a confirmatory test, shall be imposed a penalty of a minimum of six (6) months rehabilitation in a government center for the first offense.
If apprehended using any dangerous drug for the second time, he/she shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to 12 years and a fine ranging from P50,000 to P200,000. The section shall not be applicable where the person tested is also found to have in his/her possession such quantity of any dangerous drug provided for under Section 11 of R A 9165.
PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that although the local police charged Ongpin in connection with the confiscated illegal drugs, the La Union Provincial Prosecutors’ Office ordered his release.
“Despite the release, the PRO1 reported that Ongpin has been cooperating with the investigation. Kahapon din ay muling humarap si Ginoong Julian Ongpin sa ating mga imbestigador upang sagutin ang mga karagdagang tanong tungkol sa pangyayaring ito,” said the top cop.
Gen. Eleazar vowed an impartial investigation on the case adding that he would personally monitor its development.
“Amid the speculations regarding this case, we appeal to our kababayans to wait for the result of the investigation as we commit that we will continue to update you on the progress of the investigation,” he said.
“At the same time, we assure our kababayan of fairness in the conduct of the i investigation in the interest of truth and justice,” he added.
Brig. Gen. Peralta said he has ordered the PRO1 Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division, Regional Intelligence Division, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Scene of the Crime Operation to closely coordinate and support the La Union Police Provincial Office in investigating the case.
He also asked the Regional Legal Service to assist in the investigation and to act as Crime Scene Attorney.
Peralta said that a case for violation of Section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs) and Section 15 (use of dangerous drugs) under RA 9165 have been filed against the young Ongpin.