PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar yesterday said initial investigation showed there was no foul play in the death of painter Breana Patricia Jonson Agunod or Bree Jonson at a resort in La Union over the weekend.
“So far, with all the information that we obtained, there is no indication of foul play,” Eleazar told a press briefing at Camp Crame, citing information from Ilocos region police director Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta.
Eleazar, however, said investigators have not ruled out foul play in Jonson’s death, adding a Special Investigation Task Force is still conducting an investigation.
Police found the body of Jonson in one of the rooms of the Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel in San Juan town last Saturday. They went to the area after Jonson’s boyfriend, Julian Ongpin, reported the incident to authorities.
Ongpin, the son of Marcos-era trade minister Roberto Ongpin, was arrested by the police for possession of 12.6 grams of cocaine they found in the room. He was charged last Monday for possession of illegal drugs before the provincial prosecutor’s office which ordered his release, pending further investigation.
Ongpin, a person of interest in the case, and Jonson tested positive for cocaine use.
The legal team of the Jonson family questioned the order of the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Agoo, La Union to release Ongpin from police custody despite being considered as a possible suspect in her death.
The National Bureau of Investigation has finished conducting its autopsy on the body of Jonson and “the results are being carefully reviewed.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the autopsy was requested by the family of Jonson.
“The collected specimens are undergoing laboratory examination,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said, adding it is too early to divulge the results.
Also included in the NBI investigation is determining the source of the 12.6 grams of cocaine found in the resort room where Jonson died.
“We are not ruling out yet foul play in this incident now that we still don’t have all the pieces of evidence which we can use in coming up with our conclusion,” Eleazar said, adding they are awaiting the result of the pathological examination on the remains of Jonson. He said the result may be available in 10 days to two weeks.
Eleazar said the autopsy result showed Jonson died of asphyxia (loss of oxygen) by ligature, which he said may indicate he was strangled by another person or she may have hanged herself. He said the ligature mark on Jonson’s neck was upward.
“As per the autopsy result, we didn’t see markings to prove there was a struggle or contusions to prove he was attacked, except that upward ligature (on the neck),” Eleazar said. “All these things are being considered in the conduct of the investigation.”
Eleazar said a reenactment of the incident gave credence to the claim of Ongpin that he climbed the window of the comfort room to get to Jonson, in the process sustaining scratches caused by protruding nails.
“He (Ongpin) said he saw her hanging (inside the CR), then he put her on the bed. That is recollection and his statement,” said Eleazar. – With Ashzel Hachero