MANILA (UPDATED) – New CCTV footage in the hands of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) show a smiling Deniece Cornejo being passionately kissed by businessman Cedric Lee inside the elevator of her condo unit, just after the mauling of actor and TV host Vhong Navarro.
The footage was taken on the early morning of January 23 after a tied-up Navarro was hauled off to the Southern Police District by Lee's group that accused him of attempting to rape Cornejo.
The new footage, according to Navarro's lawyer Atty. Alma Mallongga, shows Lee being "very affectionate" towards Cornejo, which means that they may have a deeper relationship than what they have publicly admitted.
Mallonga also said new footage also shows Navarro and Cornejo's first meeting on January 17 in her condo.
Thirty minutes after the actor left the condo, Cedric Lee arrived with his friends.
The footage also shows Lee's sister Bernice arriving with 2 men at Cornejo's condo on January 22, the night that Navarro was mauled and Cornejo was allegedly raped.
Bernice and her companions arrived 30 minutes before Vhong came. A few minutes later, Bernice is seen leaving the condo by her lonesome.
“Makalipas ang ilang minuto makikitang muling sumakay ng elevator si Bernice Lee pero mag isa na lang siya," Mallonga said.
Cornejo has accused Navarro of raping her, while the TV host believes that he was set up and has filed charges against the Lee siblings, Cornejo and several other people.
Navarro, in his sworn statement given to the NBI, said 2 men were inside Cornejo's condo even before he arrived.
A preliminary investigation of the case is scheduled Friday.
Fortun downplays new CCTV video
However, Lee's spokesman Raymond Fortun on Friday said the newly released CCTV footage is a "non-issue."
In his Facebook page, Fortun reacted to various comments about the footage.
“Maybe it's just me, but it looks like the girl didn't even want to be kissed. Others will think otherwise. What matters is, again, what I PERSONALLY KNOW," he said.
"I have met with DC (Deniece Cornejo) and CL (Cedric Lee) in a meeting and over dinner. Di ko nakita nor naramdaman na close sila. For me, this is another non-issue because it does not prove or disprove the parties' version of events that night,” he added.
He said he is objecting to the word “passionately” to describe the kisses Lee gave to Cornejo.
“I would object to the use of the word ‘passionately’ then I would pull out the definition from the dictionary. Then I would pull my wife and kiss her in a passionate manner to prove my point. I expect to be sustained by the judge,” he said.
Fortun also believes that the CCTV footage will not affect the case.
“First public statement of CL that they are just friends? As I said, it seemed that the girl didn't even want to be kissed. CL didn't even embrace her, nor did she embrace back. So... the kisses on the cheeks aside, it (won't) affect the case,” he said. - reports from Jeck Batallones, ABS-CBN News; Ria de Fiesta, ABS-CBNNews.com