The Regional Trial Court in San Fernando City in La Union is expected to soon issue a warrant of arrest against Julian Roberto Ongpin after his criminal case for illegal possession of dangerous drugs has been raffled off to Judge Romeo Agacita Jr. of RTC Branch 27.
Agacita was the same magistrate who issued a precautionary hold departure order against Ongpin when the charge for illegal possession of dangerous drugs was under preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice.
Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar revealed on Friday that the illegal possession of drug case against Ongpin was assigned to Agacita.
Under the rules, 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, in a text message to reporters.
Ongpin, son of billionaire-businessman Roberto Ongpin, has been 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.
Ongpin 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. Ongpin was arrested. The police report stated that both Ongpin and Jonson tested positive for cocaine use.
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of La Union started the investigation of Ongpin on police’s charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
Later, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the transfer of the preliminary investigation to the DOJ in Manila. A panel of prosecutors conducted the probe and issued a resolution finding probable cause to indict Ongpin with illegal possession of dangerous drugs.