|(L) Host-actor Vhong Navarro and (R) businessman Cedric Lee
MANILA – Businessman Cedric Lee addressed point by point all accusations made by Vhong Navarro against him in connection with the TV host’s mauling last week.
In an interview with “Mornings@ANC” on Tuesday, Lee said Navarro is twisting facts to make it appear that he was abused for no valid reason.
Lee said he does not personally know Navarro and it was only last January 22 when he fmet the “It’s Showtime” host for the first time.
“Actually when we were trying to pin him down, hindi ko pa po kilala na si Vhong Navarro 'yun. Pumapalag siya, nagsusuntukan na kami doon. Buti na lang dalawa kami, napagtulungan namin siya. When we were able to contain him na, and asked my sister to bring Deniece back to the condo unit, when Deniece was scolding him na and reprimanding him, that’s the time that we found it's Vhong Navarro,” he said.
Lee pointed out that if their female friend, Deniece Cornejo, really intended for something to happen between them that night, she would have locked the door.
“Kuya Vhong nga ang tawag niya doon eh. Kung talagang may plano si Deniece, hindi nga naka-lock 'yung pinto. Inisip niya kung dumating kami, papasok lang kami para makikain kami, papakilala niya kami kay Vhong. If she really intends on doing something with him, like Vhong is projecting, they would have locked the door and Deniece would have told us not to go anymore,” he said.
As to his luck on immediately finding duct tape at Cornejo’s condominium unit, Lee said: “I’m not sure if it’s a packaging tape or a duct tape. 'Yung duct tape ginagamit kasi naglilipat pa lang si Denice kasi she just transferred there. Parang may ginamit siyang mga balikbayan boxes, naglilipat pa siya ng mga gamit niya. Siguro 'yun ang tape na ginamit niya.”
Lee said it is not true that his friends also attacked Navarro.
“Hindi po totoo. In-exaggerate niya 'yun. 'Yung mga kaibigan ko sumundo sa amin hanggang sa elevator lang, may CCTV naman yung elevator. From the unit to the elevator, it’s like seven or eight meters away. Nahihirapan na nga kami i-pin down siya. Nung sa elevator, nagpapabigat siya, ayaw niya sumama," Lee narrated.
“Sinakay namin siya sa elevator. Nung nasa elevator na, inalalayan kami ng ibang kaibigan namin para maisakay siya sa kotse. Nakita niya may dumating na two, three other friends, in-exaggerate niya na nakibugbog na,” he said.
Lee also denied that he and his friends were extorting money from Navarro.
“Assuming I’m going to extort, why would I choose a Vhong Navarro while knowing he’s so popular, very influential tapos ang daming koneksyon, ang daming kaibigan, mga pulitiko, mga senador, siya pa ang pipiliin kong kikilan ng isang milyon? Is it worth it?” he said.
While saying that he is just a “simple businessman,” Lee said he does not see the need to resort to extortion in order to earn money.
“Hindi po ako mayaman. Simpleng negosyante lang po ako, kumikita naman ako ng marangal and maginhawa naman ang buhay ko. I don’t have to resort to that para lang kumita ng P1 million, P500,000. Common sense naman,” he said.
Lee said it was actually Navarro who first offered to give money in order to pay for the damage to Cornejo’s condo unit.
“Siya ang nagsabi sa amin nun, na babayaran niya 'yung mga damages. Sabi ko, ‘Vhong paano 'yung mga nabasag doon? Ipagpalagay natin na ako 'yung nakabasag nung iba dun kasi nagkarambulan tayo pero hindi naman ako ang dapat na mag bayad nun. Kasalanan mo naman.’ Sabi niya babayaran niya lahat,” he said.
Lee also belied the claim of Navarro’s lawyer, Dennis Manalo, that he sent an unidentified male to enter Navarro's house in Quezon City on Sunday night, after Navarro's interview with Boy Abunda on ABS-CBN's “Buzz Ng Bayan.”
“Gawa-gawa na lang nila 'yun. Minumura na nga kami ng buong Pilipinas dahil sa twinist niyang story tapos gagawa pa kami ng ganun? Wala ba kaming takot man lang?” he asked.
Lee said Navarro was also lying when he said Lee and his friends took a video of “It’s Showtime” host’s private parts. Lee explained that it just so happened that Navarro was naked when they entered the condominium unit of Cornejo.
Meanwhile, Lee claimed that he received calls from six to seven women who are willing to come forward to file molestation charges against the TV host.
“Sa mga naniniwala sa akin, lalo na sa mga babaeng dati na niyang nabiktima, actually anim or pitong ibang babeng ang tumawag sa akin and they are contemplating if they are going to come and also file charges against Vhong,” he said.
Lee added: “’Yung mga dati niyang minolestiya, 'yung iba natuloy, 'yung iba hindi natuloy tapos lumaban din, sa pananaw nila karma lang. It’s about time.”
While they seem to be the unpopular party in this case, Lee said what’s important is he has the respect and support of his family and friends.
“Hindi ko kailangan ng palakpak ng taumbayan, hindi ko kailangan na maniwala sila sa akin, hindi ako tatakbo sa politics, hindi ko kailangan ng boto nila, hindi rin ako mag-aartista, murahin nila ako kung gusto nila pero lalabas din ang katotohanan. Yung mga nakakakilala sa akin, nandiyan pa rin ang tiwala at respeto nila sa akin,” he said.