Wheels of justice start rolling on Julian Ongpin’s criminal case

Published October 22, 2021, 12:58 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Trial Court

The criminal case for illegal possession of dangerous drugs filed against Julian Roberto S. Ongpin was raffled to Judge Romeo E. Agacita Jr. of Branch 27 of the regional trial court (RTC) in San Fernando City in La Union.

Judge Agacita was the same magistrate who issued a precautionary hold departure order (PHDO) against Julian when the charge for illegal possession of dangerous drugs was under preliminary investigation by Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors in Manila.

DOJ Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar confirmed on Friday, Oct. 22, the assignment of Julian’s case to Judge Agacita.

Under the rules, Judge Agacita has to determine if there is probable cause for the issuance of an arrest order.

“As of this morning (Oct. 22), a warrant of arrest has yet to be issued,” Villar said.

Julian was charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Section 11, Article II of RA 9165 imposes a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million for possession of 10 grams or more of dangerous drugs such as cocaine.

Illegal possession of dangerous drugs of 10 grams or more is a non-bailable offense.

Julian has been a person of interest in the Sept. 18 death of artist Breanna “Bree” Jonson. He and Breanna checked in at a hotel in San Juan, La Union last Sept. 17. In the morning of Sept. 18, Breanna was found “motionless” inside the hotel room and was declared dead in a hospital.

The police recovered 12.6 grams of cocaine inside the room the couple occupied. Julian was arrested. The police report stated that both Julian and Breanna tested positive for cocaine use.

The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of La Union started the investigation of Julian on police’s charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs.

Later, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra ordered the transfer of the preliminary investigation to the DOJ in Manila. A panel of prosecutors conducted the probe and issued a resolution to charge Julian with illegal possession of dangerous drugs.