MANILA - Businessman Cedric Lee on Tuesday said at least two videos will exonerate him from allegations that he and model/stylist Deniece Cornejo conspired to blackmail actor Vhong Navarro by accusing him of attempted rape.
In an interview with radio DZMM, Lee again answered questions surrounding the mauling of Navarro inside Cornejo's condo unit at The Fort last January 22, Wednesday.
Lee denied that he took a video of Navarro's private parts after they allegedly caught the actor trying to rape Cornejo. He said he and his friend, Zimmer Raz, did not abuse Navarro's private parts.
"Walang gumagalaw sa kanya. Lalaki po kami. Bakit namin gagalawin organ niya? Yun ang gusto niyang palabasin," he said.
On the other hand, he confirmed that he took a video of Navarro's face just before they turned over the actor to the police at the Southern Police District.
"Ang tinutukoy niyang video ay nakarating na kami sa Southern Police District. Bago ko siya tinurn over sa police, kinuhanan ko ng video yung mukha niya para as an evidence what state he is in just in case he will decide to inflict more harm on himself para palabasin na kinawawa namin siya. May ebidensya ako," he said.
He said he showed the video to a TV reporter from GMA-7, which the station aired Monday night.
Lee said another video that will exonerate him and his group is the CCTV footage at the Forbeswood Heights condominium on the night of the incident.
He said the CCTV footage will clearly show that Navarro arrived first at the condo, and that he, his sister, Bernice, and Raz arrived afterwards.
"Makikita niyo sa CCTV camera nauna siya dun bago ako. Yung sinasabi niya na nandoon na ako, na may baril na ako pagpasok niya, hindi po totoo yun," he said.
Asked why the condominium guards did not investigate the incident, Lee said they told the guards about the alleged attempted rape, and that they were bringing Navarro to the police.
"Nagtanong yung guard, Sabi namin: Ito nangre-rape. Dadalhin namin sa presinto.' Wala rinecord nila. Makikita naman yun sa CCTV...Pwede naman sila sumama pero di sila sumama. Nag stay lang sila. Siguro pakiramdam nila hindi na nila trabaho yun," he said.
Navarro earlier told "Buzz ng Bayan" that he was beaten up and threatened by Lee's group after he visited Cornejo last Wednesday.
The actor said he went to Cornejo's place upon the girl's invitation and was surprised that 6-7 men ganged up on him and beat him up. He said the group threatened to kill his family and said he should pay up to P2 million.
For his part, Lee did not deny that he and Raz beat up Navarro but said it was only because Navarro kept fighting back and trying to escape.
The businessman said Navarro begged Cornejo not to file charges against him since it would ruin his showbiz career. He said Navarro offered to pay for the damages to Cornejo's condo unit but no amount was discussed.
Asked why Cornejo did not push through with the attempted rape charge after reporting the incident to police, he said: "Yung babae siyempre nahihiya din at naaawa din. Si Vhong kasi pagdating dun sa police station ang advice sa amin ng police dun ay file-an ng charges para ma-inquest. Kaso ma i-inquest siya bukas ng umaga so ipapasok muna siya sa selda overnight.'
"Ngayon si Vhong nagmamakaawa at nag-iiyak dun at sinabi kay Deniece sigurado sa umaga marami ng media. Sira ang career niya at di niya alam paano ipapaliwanag sa mga anak niya."
"Ito naman si Deniece nahihiya rin. Being raped or being tried to be raped is not something to be proud of. Hindi niya rin pinursue yung kaso. Pinatawad niya. Pinagalitan na lang niya dun, sinabi niya: Sana wag mo na gawin ito sa iba. Papatawarin kita pero let's put it on record na nangyari itong pangyayaring ito.'"
Lee denied Navarro's claim that he was forced to sign the blotter under duress. He said a photo of Navarro at the police station at the time of the filing in the police blotter showed that he was not being threatened or tortured.
Why blackmail Vhong?
He also rejected Navarro's claim of blackmail, saying that it would be illogical to try to extort P1 million to P2 million from the actor when he is so popular.
He said it was Navarro who offered to pay for the damage to Cornejo's condo unit as long as she did not file a case against him.
"Common sense naman po. Kung talagang mang e-extort lang kami, bakit naman si Vhong Navarro ang pipiliin namin sa lahat ng tao? Sikat na sikat. Napakaraming fans. Ang daming connection, ang daming kaibigang senador. Siya pa ang bibiktimahin namin para lang sa P1 million?"
"Hindi extortion yun. Pinababayaran namin sa kanya yung damages. Nagmamakaawa siyang wag siyang file-an ng kaso. Babayaran na lang niya yung damages, moral damages, damages to property. Siya yung nagstart ng figures - P200,000, P500,000 daw.'
"Sabi ko: 'Wag natin pag usapan yan dito dahil babalik pa ako sa condo. Titignan ko ang extent ng damages. Saka tayo mag-usap.' Kaya binigay ko telepono ko sa kanya at binagay niya telepono niya sa akin.'
"The next day, nag te-text pa kami ni Vhong e. Magkano babayaran niya at magkano ang damage? I said roughly mga P800,000 pero balatuhan mo na ng P1 million para kasama yung moral damages. Sabi niya sa akin: 'OK. Ano account number?' Binigay ko account number ni Deniece dahil I didn't want to have anything to do with that money issue. Baka akala ako ang interesado diyan e."
Lee said Navarro never deposited the money to Cornejo's account. Instead, the actor told the National Bureau of Investigation that he had been mauled.
"Nalaman ko na lang the next day na nagpa-NBI at nagcomplain na. So tinext ko siya: 'Di ka pala lalaking kausap. Nag complain ka pa sa NBI. Kung ayaw mong bayaran yung furniture, di bale. Ako na lang ang mag re-replace nun pero talo talo na tayo.' Yun na ang huli," he said.
The businessman denied that he is allegedly a member of the Chinese mafia. He said he has business dealings with government and also has a stake in mining.
He also said he will not leave the country and is now contemplating filing his own criminal charge--possibly libel--against Navarro.
He claimed that several women are willing to come forward and say that Navarro also molested them.
Lee said he has no regrets about what happened since he was only helping a friend in need.
"Hindi po ako tatakbo. Kung kailangan ako ma-convict para magtanggol sa isang rine-rape na babae, kung lumabas pa na kami ang masama at siya ang kinampihan ng batas at na convict ako, then so be it," he said.