Julian Ongpin, the son of billionaire Roberto Ongpin, was cleared of drug possession by a La Union court with the investigation into the death of artist Bree Jonson still lacking a breakthrough.
Ongpin was the last person seen with Jonson before she was found dead in the bathroom of their hotel last Sept. 18.
Judge Romeo Agacita Jr. dismissed the complaint citing lack of probable cause and non-compliance with the proper handling of confiscated drugs. Police claimed to have found cocaine in Ongpin's possession. Ongpin and Jonson also tested positive for drug use.
“The Court is constrained to dismiss the criminal case for lack of probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest against accused Julian Roberto Ongpin, in view of the utter non-compliance of the requirement of Sec. 21 of RA (Republic Act) 9165,” the court said in its decision.
Non-compliance with the procedure in handling confiscated drugs can make the evidence inadmissible, according to Philippine law.
The court also lifted the hold departure order issued against Ongpin on Oct. 8. This means that he is now free to leave the Philippines.
Police earlier said Jonson died of asphyxia which means a loss of oxygen, commonly caused by strangulation or choking.
WHAT WENT BEFORE: