PNP: Misinterpretation of autopsy protocol causes Bree's family to criticize police probers

Published October 3, 2021, 2:44 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) denied on Sunday, Oct. 3, that it is delaying the conduct of investigation into the death of artist Bree Jonson, especially on giving the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the opportunity to conduct autopsy.

PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said the allegation of the mother of Bree that the PNP is delaying the turn over of some internal organs of her daughter was just a result of the misinterpretation of the procedures done during the autopsy of the police.

He said that there was actually a meeting among the PNP and NBI medico-legal teams on October 1 which was also attended by the lawyers of Jonson identified as Em Salandanan and Jessielyn Sunga.

“During that meeting, it was clearly explained that although some of the internal organs were removed, they were immediately returned to the abdominal cavity after tissue samples were taken as part of the protocol in the conduct of autopsy,” said Eleazar.

In fact, he said that the NBI Medico Legal admitted that they have seen the organs except that they could not decipher or distinguish clearly where the heart tissues are along with the stomach and trachea as they were cut into sections to fit the abdominal cavity.

“This means that even before the public statement made by the family of Bree Jonson on this issue, this matter was already clarified in the presence of their lawyers,” said Eleazar.

“It appears then that the public statement by the family of Bree Jonson on the alleged missing internal organs stemmed from a misinterpretation of the procedures, but this was already clarified to them,” he added.

Eleazar said that as part of the coordination and cooperation with the NBI in the investigation of this case, he ordered the turn over of the substantial extra tissues were turned over to the NBI in the presence of the Jonson’s lawyers along with a complete list of organs.

The NBI Medico-Legal team, he said, scrutinized the tissues and having accounted them all, they proceeded with the acceptance of these tissues through a chain of custody form which was signed by NBI and witnessed by the lawyers of the Jonson family.

“All of these were properly documented as part of the investigation protocol,” he stressed.

The Chief PNP then assured the family of Jonson that the PNP is just as committed as Bree’s family to finding out the truth of what really happened.

“We understand the sentiments and concerns aired publicly by Bree Jonson’s mother but we would like to assure her and other members of the family that the PNP is not causing any unreasonable delay in the process of investigating Jonson’s death,” said Eleazar.

Bree was found dead inside a room of a hostel she and her boyfriend Julian Ongpin was occupying last month. Both Ongpin and Bree tested positive for cocaine use and the former was charged with a case relating to illegal drugs after 12.6 grams of cocaine was found inside the room.

Police earlier said that the initial investigation was leading to suicide of Bree but her family is not convinced as they want Ongpin, a son of a billionaire businessman, to be held responsible.

“We are carefully scrutinizing every piece of evidence because we do not want a sloppy or haphazard investigation. I appeal for everyone to avoid making conclusions until the PNP and the NBI have finished their probe on Jonson’s death,” said Eleazar.