MANILA -- Host-actor Vhong Navarro has already filed cases against the group Cerdic Lee who allegedly attacked him inside a condominium unit in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
Lee, his sibling Berniece Lee, Deniece Cornejo, Zimmer Rance, Ferdinand Guerrero, a certain "Alias Mike," and two unidentified accomplices are now facing charges of serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense.
Meanwhile, Cornejo has filed a rape case against the actor.
Whose case is stronger, Navarro's or Deniece's?
In an interview with "Buzz ng Bayan," Atty. Lorna Kapunan, the former counsel for Janet Lim-Napoles, breaks down the charges filed by opposing camps.
Kapunan said coercion happens when a person is forced to do something against his will and it is considered grave when it is accompanied by certain "seriousness."
In Navarro's case, Kapunan said the allegation that Lee and his group was forcing the comedian to admit that he committed rape is a good example of grave coercion
"In this particular instance, 'yung grave coercion 'yung making him admit kino-coerce siya to admit na he committed a rape. Tapos pinilit siyang sumama sa presinto to admit to a crime that a he was just forced to admit he committed," she said.
Kapunan said grave threat is somehow related to grave coercion. However, grave threat only happens when the suspect is threatening a victim's life or his family.
"Kamag-anak 'yan ng coercion. Grave threats is not only when you threaten a person. 'Yung sasabihin mo na i-expose kita. Kung di mo aminin na ginawa mo 'tong rape i-expose kita sa media or I will hurt your family," she said.
Serious illegal detention
Kapunan said among the cases filed by Navarro against Lee's group, the most serious is serious illegal detention.
She explained that while the law states that serious illegal detention happens when a person is held against his will for at least three days, there are other circumstances that may constitute serious illegal detention.
"Ang sabi rin sa batas, di rin kailangan ng three days kung some circumstances are present kagaya ng seryosong pambubugbog or 'yung attempt to get ransom," Kapunan said.
"Ang pinaka-serious 'yung serious illegal detention. Tawag dun kidnap being non-bailable. Ang susunod dun, less serious, e ‘yung serious physical injuries. Pag hindi pa maipakita ng serious physical injuries, ang susunod dun grave coercion. Pag di pa rin puwede 'yun, grave threats. Walang kawala ang akusado," she added.
Serious physical injuries
Kapunan said serious physical injuries is pretty obvious in Navarro's case.
She added that the measure for a serious physical injuries case is when a victim is unable to work for at least 30 days because of the injuries he suffered.
Kapunan said the penalty for serious illegal detention accompanied by serious physical injuries is life imprisonment.
"Based on what I see, talagang serious physical injuries 'yun. Kita naman natin 'yung black eye at hirap na hirap. So pag serious physical injuries accompanied ng illegal detention, life imprisonment 'yun," she explained.
Kapunan said that any person can do a citizen's arrest if it was done while there was actual commission of crime.
"When you see a person committing a crime, kagaya nung naglalakad, tapos 'yung naglalakad in front of you, nakita mo na-isnatchan ng bag. E hinabol mo 'yung isnatcher, hinabol mo, kinuha mo o inaresto mo, citizen's arrest 'yun kasi it was done while there was actual commission of crime," she explained.
In Navarro's case, Lee is insisting that they arrested the actor and brought him to the police because they caught him in the act of raping Cornejo.
But Kapunan said that while Lee's group, based on the claim, can arrest Navarro and turn him over to the police, they are not in the position to beat him up.
"Ang depensa nila sa ginawa nila kay Vhong, parang citizen's arrest because they caught him committing a crime. If I caught you committing a crime, what should I do? I should turn you over to the police because hindi puwedeng ikaw na ang humuli, ikaw pa ang magpaparusa," she said.
Kapunan said blackmail is another charge that may add up to the gravity of the punishment for the accused.
She explained that in Navarro's case, blackmail is like extortion as Lee's group allegedly demanded as much as P2 million from Navarro.
"In this situation, ang blackmail dito parang extortion. 'Yung demanding consideration for a person to give in. 'Yung blackmail dito na parang extortion, is 'yung demand for money," she explained. "'Yung illegal detention or serious physical injuries na may kasamang blackmail, life imprisonment 'yun."
Meanwhile, Kapunan believed that the rape case filed against Navarro could have been strong if it weren't for some inconsistencies in Cornejo's statements as opposed to the physical evidences.
"Rape is any insertion of any instrument into any opening [of the body]. When you say attempted, 'yun 'yung pumatong ka at di natuloy. Pero 'yung pumatong ka at di natuloy, sabihin mo rape 'yun, hindi yun rape," she said.
The lawyer further explained that in Cornejo's case, as seen in the CCTV footage, even removing one's shorts and forcing any insertion into the victim's body is impossible because of the given time.
"Kung totoong na-rape si Deniece at ang sinasabi niya ay 'yung anim na tumulong sa kanya ay acting in self-defense, then malakas ang kaso niya. Unfortunately, maraming inconsistencies sa evidences. E ipinakita naman sa CCTV camera na the two-minute time from the time that Vhong went up from the time this other person went up is not time enough to remove your shorts, remove her pants and make patong. Ang statement ay contrary sa physical evidence," she said.