Former pageant contestant Roxanne Cabanero and actor Vhong Navarro. Composite image
Lawyer denies mentioning date in rape complaint
MANILA - The rape complaint filed by Roxanne Acosta-Cabanero against Vhong Navarro specifies that the alleged incident happened on April 24, 2010, contrary to a statement made by her lawyer in response to claims that the actor was performing at a concert on the same night.
Cabanero's legal counsel, Atty. Virgilio Batalla, on Wednesday denied that his client's complaint-affidavit mentioned the date the alleged sexual assault took place.
Batalla was reacting to the testimony of comedian Vice Ganda, claiming that Navarro was among the guest performers at his concert held at Island Cove resort in Cavite, on the same night Cabanero alleged that the actor raped her in Pasig City.
Vice Ganda earlier said the concert started at around 9 p.m. and ended at around midnight, adding that Navarro was among the last to go on stage as he was a special guest.
The management of Island Cove, in a separate interview, confirmed that Navarro was at the resort on the night of April 24, 2010.
Vice Ganda, whose real name is Jose Marie Viceral, made the same statement under oath at the Pasig City Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday. It will be used as evidence in Navarro's counter-affidavit, which will be submitted during the first preliminary investigation into the case on March 13.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Batalla referred to Vice Ganda's testimony as "irrelevant," saying Cabanero's complaint did not say Navarro raped her on April 24, 2010.
"It will not affect our case," Batalla was quoted as saying by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a report published Thursday. "That's just their interpretation. [Navarro's camp] is just using this for publicity. They're trying to show that Vhong is innocent."
What complaint says
On Thursday, ABS-CBN News was furnished a copy of Cabanero's rape complaint against the actor, which was filed last February 19.
The complaint-affidavit, which was signed by Cabanero and Assistant City Prosecutor Richard Parras, specifies that the alleged rape happened on "April 24, 2010, 11-pm to 1:AM" in "Pasig City, near Astoria Hotel."
Cabanero said she was raped by Navarro after he supposedly fetched her from the hotel, where she claimed to have been staying as a contestant in Miss Bikini Philippines.
In an interview on "Buzz ng Bayan" aired last Sunday, Astoria Plaza project director Ric Valenzuela denied it housed pageant contestants in April 2010. He said that while the event was offered to them, it did not push through.
Cabanero's rape case was filed amid the controversy surrounding the mauling of Navarro on January 22, the same night model Deniece Cornejo claimed she was raped by the actor.
Navarro claimed that he was set up by Cornejo for an extortion attempt allegedly led by businessman Cedric Lee. The actor said he was blindfolded, tied up and attacked by "six to seven men" inside Cornejo's condominium unit in Taguig.
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.
Navarro has since filed six criminal charges against Lee, Cornejo and six others: serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense.
The Department of Justice's third preliminary investigation into the case involving Cornejo is scheduled on Friday.
Cabanero earlier denied having any connection with Lee or Cornejo, whom she has referred to as an "inspiration" in filing her own rape complaint.
"Hindi ko sila kilala," Cabanero told ABS-CBN News' Doris Bigornia in a February 21 interview. "And as much as possible, ayokong maapektuhan ang kaso ko dahil dito. Ayokong ma-link sa kanila. 'Yung kaso ko, kaso ko. Sa kanila, sa kanila."