MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified that its investigators have turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) all evidence relating to the autopsy conducted on the remains of artist Bree Jonson.
PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said that the issue on Jonson’s supposedly missing major internal organs was “the result of a misunderstanding.”
Eleazar issued the statement after the family of the deceased artist claimed that the police were trying to delay the NBI autopsy.
“We understand the sentiments and concerns aired publicly by Bree Jonson’s mother but we would like to assure her and other members of the family that the PNP is not causing any unreasonable delay in the process of investigating Jonson’s death,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
“The PNP is just as committed as Bree’s family to finding out the truth of what really happened,” he added.
Eleazar said that after he received information about the sentiments of Jonson family, he immediately contacted the director of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service to seek clarification on the claim that some of Bree’s organs were supposedly not turned over to the NBI.
He said that officials from the PNP Crime Laboratory met with the NBI and the lawyers of the Jonson family on October 1 where it was “clearly” explained that as part of the protocols, some internal organs that were removed during the autopsy were returned to the abdominal activity after tissue samples were taken for hispathological examination
“During that meeting, the NBI Medico Legal admitted that they have seen the organs except that they could not decipher or distinguish clearly where the heart tissues are along with the stomach and trachea as they were cut into sections to fit the abdominal cavity,” Eleazar said.
He said that the substantial extra tissues were turned over to the NBI in the presence of Jonson’s lawyers along with a complete list of organs.
“The NBI Medico Legal scrutinized the tissues and having accounted them all, they proceeded with the acceptance of these tissues through a chain of custody form, which was signed by NBI and witnessed by the lawyers of the Jonson family,” he said.
“All of these were properly documented as part of the investigation protocol,” he added.
“This means that even before the public statement made by the family of Bree Jonson on this issue, this matter was already clarified in the presence of their lawyers Attorneys Em Salandanan and Jessielyn Sunga,” he further stated.
The PNP chief surmised that the comments made by Jonson’s family “stemmed from a misinterpretation of the procedures,” but assured that this was already clarified to them.
“We are carefully scrutinizing every piece of evidence because we do not want a sloppy or haphazard investigation. I appeal for everyone to avoid making conclusions until the PNP and the NBI have finished their probe on Jonson’s death,” Eleazar said.
The Jonson family previously asked the NBI to conduct another autopsy on Bree’s body.
She was found motionless inside a resort room in La Union on Sept. 18. She was with Julian Ongpin at the time of her death.
Julian is the son of businessman and former trade minister Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin.
Police said she died of asphyxia or lack of oxygen.
Local police who responded to the area seized some 12.6 grams of illegal drugs from the room. A report from the local crime laboratory showed that Ongpin tested positive during the drug test.
Julian was briefly detained by police for alleged violation of Dangerous Drugs Act but was released pending results of the investigation.
He has since been charged with drug possession and remains a person of interest in the case.