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The regional court (RTC) of La Union will be opened on Hold a December 3 hearing on motion tabled by prosecutors to reconsider dismissal of illegal drug possession case against Julian Roberto S. Ongpin, son of billionaire businessman, former Trade and Industry Minister Roberto V. Ongpin.

Prosecutor General Benedicto A. Malcontento said on Friday November 26th that the hearing was being held by Prosecutors from the Justizmi Ministry of Justice (DOJ) in the motion filed last Thursday, November 25th.

“If the court allows, the panel (prosecutors) will produce evidence in support of the motion,” Malcontento said. A copy of the petition was not immediately available.

On November 15, RTC Judge Romeo E. Agacita Jr., based in San Fernando City, La Union, issued an order preventing Julian from being tried for alleged possession of dangerous drugs in violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act 2012 was dismissed.

Judge Agacita also ordered the repeal of the Preventive Exit Order (PHDO) that had prevented Julian from leaving the country.

Justice Minister Menardo I. Guevarra had however, declares that the Immigration Information Order (ILBO) issued against Julian was not overturned because of the request for re-examination. With the ILBO, immigration officers monitor Julian’s presence in the country’s ports and airports.

Julian’s case arose from the 12.6 grams of cocaine, a banned drug, found by police in a hotel room in San Juan, La Union , where he and the late artist Breanna “Bree” Jonson checked in on September 17th.

On the morning of September 18th, Breanna was found “unconscious” and subsequently died. Julian became a person of interest in Breanna’s death. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) opened an investigation on behalf of Guevarra.

In dismissing the case, Judge Agacita ruled that the police officers who arrested Julian violated the provisions of Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165 , of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Section 21 of RA 9165 requires strict adherence to the chain of custody of the seized illegal drugs.

The law requires that the seized dangerous drugs immediately after the seizure or confiscation are to be inventoried and photographed; the physical inventory and photography must be in the presence of the defendant or his agent or attorney, an elected official, a media representative, and a representative of the Department of Justice (DOJ), all of whom are required to sign and issue a copy of the inventory obtain; and the seized drugs must be handed over to a forensic laboratory for investigation within 24 hours of the seizure. “

In its numerous decisions, the Supreme Court (SC) had ruled that” to protect the integrity and identity of the corpus delicti strict compliance with the requirements is necessary, without which the offense of illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs cannot be proven ”. beyond any doubt. “

” It is expressly provided that the prohibited drugs are marked by the arresting officer as soon as they are confiscated from the accused in order to prevent the switching, ‘planting’ or contamination of evidence. Strict adherence to the prescribed procedure is required because the unique nature of the illicit drug makes it indistinct, not easily identifiable, and easily prone to tampering, alteration, or replacement by chance or otherwise.

“A careful review of the inventory of the Evidence gathered shows that at the time of suspected illicit drug seizure, the ‘eight (8) sealed transparent white matter bags’ and’ ten (10) sealed plastic white matter bags’ were merely identified as’ JSD-B ‘and’ JSD-A ‘.

“Nowhere in the said inventory of collected evidence is there any indication that plastic bags were individually marked and signed by the seizure officers. It was therefore not possible to determine how the unlabelled drugs were handled during the seizure. Obviously it was possible to change the confiscated items without their immediate identification.

“The processing did not take place in the presence of Ongpin, since he was brought to the hospital by police officers for a medical examination at the time.

” Neither they Presence of the isolating witnesses, d. H. Representatives of the media or the Ministry of Justice (DOJ) and elected officials who, according to Section 21 of RA 9165, because the law requires them to sign and hand over the copies of the inventory, were seized.

“In the case of the Bar Association the prosecution’s narration that the arresting officers were unable to comply with the provisions of Sec. 21 of RA 9165 in view of the special circumstances of the case, d. H. the responding police officers were dispatched to examine a dead human body (found dead body), which was not derived from illegal drugs, is unfounded.

“The repeated violation of the chain of custody rule here has the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti (crime) seriously unsettled. Truly, the appeal to the austerity clause is unjustified.

“Here there was no justified reason from the arrest officers for the absence of the obligatory witnesses in their joint affidavit of the witnesses, Affidavit Complaint with Supplemental Joint Affidavit.

” Likewise, there has been no serious effort on their part – not even attempts to call through a phone call – to nearby Barangay officials, considering the Barangay Hall of Barangay Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union is just meters from the site of the incident . “.”

Ref: https://mb.com.ph