Actor Vhong Navarro and Atty. Alma Mallonga. Photo: ABS-CBN
MANILA – The legal counsel of Vhong Navarro believes the new rape complaint filed against the "It's Showtime" host could just be a ploy to derail the proceedings affecting those involved in the actor’s beating inside the condominium unit of model Deniece Cornejo last month.
A new rape complaint was filed at the Pasig City Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday by a certain Roxanne Cabañero Acosta, who is represented by Atty. Virgilio Battala.
Batalla said the alleged rape incident happened in 2010.
In an interview with “Umagang Kay Ganda” and DZMM on Thursday morning, Navarro's legal counsel, Atty. Alma Mallonga, said the new rape case is meant to harass the actor.
“Bakit ngayon lang? Bakit ngayon kung kailan dumarating na 'yung panahon na kailangan sumagot ang mga respondents sa mga sinampang kaso ni Vhong?” she said. “This is a distraction. This is an attempt to discredit Vhong. This is an attempt to harass him.”
According to Mallonga, this new allegation only strengthened Navarro's resolve to prove his innocence.
"Actually pinag-usapan namin ay 'yung hindi namin pagkagulat. Some weeks ago, Cedric (Lee) has already been saying that he's been talking to some women," Mallonga said.
The lawyer said they will definitely act on the complaint once they receive a copy. However, she said they would rather focus on the upcoming hearing of Navarro’s serious illegal detention charge against Cornejo and Lee, among others, before the Department of Justice on Friday.
“Ang gagawin namin, haharapin namin 'yung complaint. When we see it, we will respond. We will follow the process. Pero ang importante sa amin, hindi kami nawawalan ng focus,” she said.
“Ang masasabi ko lang kila Mr. Lee and company, magkita kita na lang tayo sa Department of Justice (DOJ) dahil binibigyan kayo ng opportunity to answer. Kung ayaw niyong sumagot, hindi maghihintay forever ang DOJ. Huwag tayo mawalan ng focus doon,” she added.
Asked if she knows of Navarro’s ties with Acosta, Mallonga said: “Ang problema, we really have to see the complaint. Nakakarinig lang tayo ng mga pangalan but we don’t even know for sure if that is her. Ang masasabi lang at this point na Vhong is very confident na wala siyang ginagawang krimen against anybody.”
In line with this, Mallonga said Acosta should be ready to face the consequences following her complaint against Navarro.
“Anybody can file. Ang tanong lang naman diyan, when you do that, there are consequences on what you do. Kung nagsampa ka ng kaso at ang nakasandal doon ay kasinungalingan, you have to be prepared of the consequences, for example, like perjury. 'Yun ay may kulong. We will wait,” she said.