Government prosecutors will present additional evidence against Julian Ongpin on Monday after the La Union Regional Trial Court (RTC) hearing the motion for reconsideration of the junked drug possession charges against the billionaire’s son agreed.
San Fernando, La Union RTC Branch 27 Judge Romeo Agacita Jr. ordered a video hearing, Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento told reporters via text message on Friday.
“A presentation of evidence on the motion (is) set on December 7,” Malcontento said.
The La Union RTC earlier dismissed the criminal case for lack of probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest against Ongpin, who was caught with 12.685 grams of cocaine at a hostel room in San Juan town on September 18.
The policemen who arrested Ongpin failed to comply with the provisions of Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) that requires compliance with the chain of custody of seized illegal drugs, according to the La Union RTC.
Agacita also lifted and set aside the precautionary hold departure order against the 29-year-old Ongpin, whose alleged girlfriend, artist Bree Jonson, was found unconscious in the same room.
Jonson, 30, was declared dead in a hospital due to asphyxia.
Among the lapses noted were the absence of an indication that plastic sachets of suspected cocaine were individually marked and signed by the seizing officers; processing was done without Ongpin, who was already brought by police officers to the hospital for medical examination; and no witnesses, like representatives from the media or Department of Justice and any elected public officials, who are required by law to sign the copies of the inventory.
“Here, there was no justifiable ground given by the arresting officers for the absence of the mandatory witnesses in their Joint Affidavit of Witnesses, Affidavit Complaint with Supplemental Joint Affidavit. Likewise, there was even no earnest efforts on their part, not even attempts to call through phone nearby barangay officials, considering that the barangay hall of Barangay Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union is just a few meters from the place of incident,” the La Union RTC ruled.