Who is Atty. Jonnah John Ungab?

By: King Anthony Perez February 19,2018 - 07:14 PM

CDN PHOTO / Junjie Mendoza

Atty. Jonnah John Ungab- vice-mayor, counsel, husband and father.

Ungab was pronounced dead at around 2 p.m., Monday, February 19, after he sustained two gunshot wounds to his head.

His wife, Pearl, was present, when an unidentified assailant fired shots at the lawyer while they were inside a moving vehicle a few meters away from the city’s courthouse.

Early beginnings

Ungab comes from a political family in Ronda town, Cebu, approximately 81 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

He was married to Pearl Ungab in the late 1990s, and they have six children.

He studied law at Southwestern University and graduated in 2000. He passed the Bar exams the next year, with a rating of 81.1 percent. In 2002, he decided to teach law.

Ungab was the president of the family-owned Ultimate Visa Corp., and proprietor of All About Spice Catering. He and lawyer Rey Gealon formed a law firm, which specializes on immigration, criminal and civil cases.

Entry into politics

He was first elected municipal councilor of Ronda in 2004 and served for two more terms.

In 2010, he was elected vice mayor under One Cebu-Lakas-Kampi-CMD, while an uncle, Mariano Blanco III, is the mayor.

The lawyer was previously elected as president of VMLP in Central Visayas.

Ungab was re-elected to his third term as Ronda’s vice-mayor in the last 2016 elections.

Marital controversies

Ungab’s life turned into a media circus following a catfight between his wife, Pearl, and his alleged mistress, lawyer Jiecel Tiu on February 26, 2015.

Pearl attacked Tiu with a baseball bat at the parking area of Centro Maximo Building on Ranudo and Jakosalem Streets in Cebu City.

Tiu claimed that Pearl’s Navara pickup bumped her car, and that Pearl smashed the windows of her car and hit her with a baseball bat.

Pearl alleged that she hit Tiu’s car after the lawyer attacked her with pepper spray and bumped her and her 2-year-old daughter at the parking lot.

The said scandal also led to a skeleton in his closet—a complaint filed by a former student who accused him of sexual harassment in 2013 and fathering her 1-year-old son.

The former student, Claire (not her real name) has filed a complaint of violation of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7877) against Ungab, her law professor.

But the same case was dismissed by the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office in March 2015 due to lack of sufficient evidence to indict Ungab.

Defense counsel of drug personalities

Ungab had handled high profile anti-illegal drug cases before his demise.

He was the legal counsel of self-confessed Cebuano drug lord Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro, who is now detained in Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), the provincial jail located in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City.

Barok surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Bohol in June 2016.

Ungab also served as counsel to businessman Dong Yi Shen, alias Kenneth Dong, who was linked to the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu.

He represented the alleged drug smuggler on a rape case, which was acquitted by the Parañaque Regional Trial Court on November 2017.

Ambushed in broad daylight

Ungab was the lawyer of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa since 2009, in a drug case that was later dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA).

The Office of the Assistant Prosecutor in Baybay City, Leyte dismissed in March 2017 an anti-drug complaint lodged by Albuera Police against Ungab for lack of evidence and jurisdiction.

The complaint alleged that Ungab is the drug protector of Espinosa, who was tagged as the number one drug lord in Eastern Visayas.

Returned checks showing the lawyer’s receipt of “big amounts money” from Espinosa were used as evidence against Ungab.

Ungab, in a previous Cebu Daily News story, stressed that his association with Espinosa was “purely professional.”
On February 19, Ungab accompanied his client at the Qimonda IT Center, Cebu City’s courthouse, for the promulgation of the case filed against Espinosa.

Cebu City RTC Branch 23 rendered a decision on Monday morning, finding Espinosa guilty of violating COMELEC’s election gun ban.

But Espinosa was acquitted on illegal possession of firearms charges.

At past 11 a.m., Ungab was shot twice in broad daylight inside his Suzuki Kizashi vehicle. Two unidentified assailants were involved in the ambush and are still on the loose.


READ: Kerwin Espinosa’s lawyer killed in Cebu City ambush

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