MANILA - Actor-host Vhong Navarro said it took over a week for him to meet his sons after the controversial mauling incident in Taguig last January 22, which left him with serious injuries.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Korina Sanchez on Thursday, Navarro recalled seeing Yce and Bruno last February 2, 11 days after he was attacked by the group of businessman Cedric Lee inside a condominium unit.
|Vhong Navarro's sons, Yce and Bruno, appeared on 'It's Showtime' last January 11 in celebration of the actor's birthday
"Gusto ko maiyak dahil sobrang miss ko sila, pero kailangan kong pigilan po kasi pag makita po nilang umiyak ako, ibig sabihin parang ang-weak ko, e," the actor said.
"Kasi gusto kong ipakita sa kanila na pagsubok lang 'to, pagdadaanan lang natin ito, at binigay sa atin ni God ito dahil alam niyang kaya natin itong lagpasan. So niyakap ko lang po sila nang mahigpit. Sabi ko, 'Be strong, be strong.'"
Navarro was hospitalized for two weeks due to "contusion hematoma around his eyes, forehead, chin and some parts of his extremities." He also had to undergo reconstructive surgery due to broken bones in his nose, according to his doctor.
The "It's Showtime" co-host claimed that he was set up by model Deniece Cornejo for an extortion attempt allegedly led by Lee. Navarro said he was blindfolded and tied up before being attacked by "six to seven men." He also alleged that his private parts were abused and recorded on video, which Lee has denied.
The actor filed six criminal charges against Lee, Cornejo, and six others last January 28: serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention -- a non-bailable offense.
Cornejo, in her rape complaint filed against Navarro last January 29, alleged that she was "rescued" by Lee's group from being sexually assaulted by the actor, which supposedly led to the mauling.
A crying Navarro denied the allegation in an interview on "Buzz ng Bayan" last January 26.
The actor was also emotional on Thursday when he related his sons' words of support amid the controversy. "Sabi nila, 'Naniniwala kami sa'yo, dad. Naniniwala kami sa'yo. Kaya natin 'to.'"
"Nakakatuwa rin po kasi syempre sa edad nilang gano'n, alam natin na magulo pa po," he said. "Pero pilit nilang iniintindi po. Basta sinasabi ko sa kanila, ngayon mas kailangan natin [mag-ingat]."
Navarro said he had been fearful and cautious about meeting family members, citing the threats he allegedly received from Lee and his group. The "Gagamboy" star claimed that Lee warned him against going public with the January 22 incident, or his group would kill his parents and sons.
Lee's camp has denied the accusations.
|Yce and Bruno Navarro first performed on 'It's Showtime' in January 2013, as part of their father's birthday number
Yce and Bruno, whose given names are Isaiah and Fredriek, only recently appeared on "It's Showtime" last January 11, when Navarro celebrated his birthday on the noontime program.
The two gave birthday messages to their father, who referred to them both as his "source of strength."
The brothers debuted on "It's Showtime" in 2013, when they opened the program with a dance number also on the occasion of Navarro's birthday.