Duterte offered help to family of artist Bree Jonson, lawyer says


Posted at Sep 27 2021 10:14 AM | Updated as of Sep 27 2021 05:33 PM

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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has offered help to the family of painter Bree Jonson, who was found dead in La Union on Sept. 18, the family's lawyer said Monday.

"The President, he definitely expressed help. In fact, siya nga ang nag-forward nitong issue na'to dun sa NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] to aid us in investigating kung ano 'yung nangyari dito sa pagkamatay ni Bree," lawyer Ma Moreni Salandanan told Teleradyo.

(... In fact, he forwarded this issue to the NBI to aid us in investigating what happened to Bree.) 

Duterte "instructed the criminal justice system of the country to accord the victims justice," his spokesman Harry Roque later confirmed.

"Pero kinakailangan po hayaan natin na magpatuloy ang imbestigasyon para malaman natin kung ano talagang nangyari," he said in a press briefing. 

(But we need to let the investigation continue so we could know what really happened.) 

The NBI has conducted a second autopsy and a parallel investigation on the incident.

Police earlier said the 30-year old artist died of asphyxia and tested positive for cocaine use.

Her last companion, Julian Ongpin, son of billionaire and former trade minister Bobby Ongpin, claimed she committed suicide- which the late painter's family refutes.

Jonson's remains have been brought to Davao City.

In the interview, Salandanan lamented there was "double standard" in the investigation against Ongpin.

She questioned the La Union prosecutor's decision to release Ongpin "for further investigation" despite the presence of about 12 grams of cocaine in the hostel room.

"In a sense, medyo merong (there seems to be) double standards dito kasi (because) what happened to my other clients before [is] very different dito sa nangyayari sa kaso ni (to what happened to the case of) Julian at (and) Bree," she added.

Salandanan stressed that the Jonson family was only after the truth.

"Ang hinahabol ng pamilya ay ang katotohanan lamang. Kasi without the truth, hindi nila makukuha 'yung closure that they deserve. Kasi as of now, very conflicting 'yung what we saw on the ground dun sa mga naging reports ng PNP," she added.

(The family is only after the truth. Because without it, they will not get the closure that they deserve. Because as of now, what we saw on the ground and the reports of the PNP are very conflicting.)