Duterte wants justice for artist Bree Jonson’s death — Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered authorities to look into the death of painter Bree Jonson, Malacañang said Monday.

“Yes, and he has instructed the criminal justice system of the country to accord the victim’s justice,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing when asked if Dutere was aware of Jonson's death and fears expressed by her mother about the country’s justice system.

“Pero kinakailangan po na hayaan natin na magpatuloy ang imbestigasyon, para malaman natin kung ano ang nangyari,” he added of the death of Jonson who was from Davao City, like Duterte.

[Translation: But we should let the investigation continue, so we can shed light on what really happened.]

Jonson was found dead on Sept. 18 in a La Union hostel, where police retrieved cocaine in the room she shared with her boyfriend Julian Ongpin.

Ongpin, the son of former Trade Secretary and businessman Roberto Ongpin, was reportedly the last person with Jonson before she died. Police filed drug complaints against Ongpin after he tested positive for cocaine and sachets of the illegal drugs that were found in their hostel room. The La Union Provincial Prosecutors’ Office, however, ordered his release from detention.

The Philippine National Police said earlier that Jonson died of asphyxia or lack of oxygen due to strangulation. It added that investigators only saw ligature marks under her chin, but there is no conclusion yet if someone strangled her or it was self-inflicted.

The Bureau of Immigration is already monitoring Ongpin's movements.

The artist's mother, Sally Jonson, earlier asked authorities to put out an immigration lookout and hold departure order against Ongpin. She also questioned why Ongpin was released from detention despite the amount of drugs allegedly found in his possession.

Early in his presidency, Duterte identified Roberto Ongpin as among the 'oligarchs' he wanted to destroy.