Philippine National Police

Julian Ongpin says he had no altercation with Bree Jonson before her death

Jairo Bolledo
Julian Ongpin says he had no altercation with Bree Jonson before her death

Courtesy of PNP PRO1

‘I do remember that. Hindi naman po,’ Ongpin says, referring to his alleged altercation with Bree Jonson captured in CCTV

Julian Ongpin denied he had an altercation with the artist Bree Jonson before she was found dead in a La Union resort last September. 

Ongpin was Jonson’s companion in Flotsam and Jetsam Resort in San Juan town in La Union, on September 18, the day her lifeless body was found. Ongpin said it was a case of suicide.

Ongpin was arrested by the police after he tested positive for a drug test and cocaine was seized inside their room. 

On September 21, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar said the La Union Prosecutor’s Office temporarily released Ongpin while the probe on the incident was ongoing.

On September 23, five days after the incident, Eleazar shared to media a closed-circuit television (CCTV) video. Eleazar said the video showed Jonson and Ongpin “having an altercation.”

In his official statement to the police on September 24, which Rappler obtained this week, Ongpin said: “I do remember that. Hindi naman po (No, it didn’t happen). I [was] just informed. She’s like, ‘give me that, [I’m] just gonna drink the whole thing.’ So of course, I’d take the bottle away from her.”

“It was like ‘give me that,’ then I said ‘no’ and took the bottle away from her,” Ongpin said, referring to his conversation with the 30-year-old Jonson as seen on the CCTV.

Julian is the son of businessman and former Trade Secretary Bobby Ongpin. 

In the video, Ongpin went outside of their room and sat down on a staircase. Shortly, he started drinking what appeared to be a bottle of red wine. 

Jonson also went outside, and then started walking and drinking. She could also be seen talking to Ongpin. 

According to the police, the two seemed to have an altercation while drinking. Jonson went back to their room after her conversation with Ongpin.

Ongpin’s statement to the police explained the conversation captured in the CCTV video. In the copy of Ongpin’s statement retrieved by Rappler, the police also asked Ongpin if they ever argued. 

“We almost never argue. Ever,” Ongpin replied. 

On September 29, Jonson was laid to rest at Davao Memorial Park. Sally, Bree’s mother, expressed dismay over the PNP’s ‘sloppy’ investigation and the release of Ongpin. 

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Artist Bree Jonson laid to rest; kin rage over ‘sloppy’ PNP investigation

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Ongpin was released upon inquest pending a full-blown preliminary investigation.

Ongpin was caught with more than 12 grams of cocaine, which is non-bailable offense under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Caught in the act – or in this case, catching someone in possession of the drugs – is also an element of a valid warrantless arrest. – With reports from Lian Buan/ Rappler.com