Deniece has family's support '101 percent,' says lawyer


Posted at Feb 01 2014 10:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2014 06:24 AM

Model Deniece Cornejo File photo

MANILA - The legal counsel of model Deniece Cornejo stressed that his client, who has accused actor Vhong Navarro of raping her, has the full support of her family despite not being visible in media.

Speaking on radio dzMM on Saturday, Atty. Howard Calleja belied speculation that Cornejo does not have the support of her parents in relation to her filing of a rape case against Navarro, following a mauling incident on January 22 that left the actor with serious injuries.

"There's another assumption or presumption there, na hindi sumusuporta or wala sila doon," Calleja said. "I've been saying this a couple of times already in media that the parents are there the first time I met them, there were some family members there with her."

Calleja, who earlier said Cornejo's father is based overseas for work, reiterated that his client's family has simply requested for privacy amid the model's legal battle.

"The point is -- these people are private citizens. They are not artista, they are not even in government or whatever," Calleja said.

"It does not mean if they don't go on TV, it does not mean if they do not get interviewed, it does not mean if they don't go on cam, they are not supporting," he added.

While in previous interviews, Calleja did not directly mention that Cornejo's parents are supportive of her, the lawyer emphasized on Saturday that his client is backed by her family in her alleged plight.

"Support can be in many ways," Calleja said. "Ayaw lang pong magpakilala nung mga tao also to respect their privacy, to contain their privacy, but they are always there, always supporting, and 101% supportive of Deniece."

Cornejo formalized her rape complaint against Navarro on Wednesday, a day after the "It's Showtime" host filed criminal charges against her and seven others in relation to the mauling incident in Taguig.

In her complaint-affidavit, Cornejo claimed that the actor forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to insert his penis in her vagina, but was "rescued" by businessman Cedric Lee and his group.

Navarro has denied attempting to rape Cornejo and claimed that he was a victim of extortion. He said he was blindfolded and tied up before being attacked by at least six men including Lee.

The actor has since charged Lee and Cornejo's group with serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention -- a non-bailable offense.