Actor Vhong Navarro and former pageant contestant Roxanne Cabanero. Composite image
MANILA - The management of Millenia Suites denied on Thursday that Miss Bikini Philippines candidates were billeted at the hotel on April 24, 2010, the date specified in Roxanne Cabanero's rape complaint against actor Vhong Navarro.
Millenia Suites has been identified by Cabanero's camp as the actual venue of the pageant, after admitting she had erroneously mentioned a different hotel in her complaint-affidavit against Navarro filed last February 19.
Cabanero earlier claimed she was staying at Astoria Plaza hotel in Pasig as a contestant in Miss Bikini Philippines on April 24, 2010, the same date mentioned in her sworn statement when Navarro allegedly raped her.
She claimed that she met Navarro earlier on the same day when she and fellow contestants had a guest appearance on "It's Showtime," which the actor co-hosts.
Cabanero alleged that she was approached by a female staff member of the ABS-CBN show to ask for her number, supposedly on behalf of Navarro.
Cabanero said she exchanged text messages with Navarro to arrange their meeting and was allegedly fetched by the actor from Astoria hotel. She said the actor then drove the car and parked it under a tree, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. of the next day.
However, in separate statements, both Miss Bikini Philippines and Astoria hotel denied that contestants in the 2010 pageant were accommodated there.
Cabanero's legal counsel, Atty. Virgilio Batalla, on Thursday explained the mix-up in the venue detailed in his client's affidavit.
"Noong una, in-announce sa kanya… sa kanila na Astoria sila, pero somehow hindi natuloy," Batalla was quoted as saying by entertainment news site Philippine Entertainment Portal. "At noong hindi natuloy na 'yun, na lilipat pala sila sa Millenia Suites. At sa Millenia Suites, halos magkatabi 'yun, ang alam pa rin ng aking kliyente ay Astoria pa rin."
Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual on Thursday, Millenia Suites general manager Angel Suntay confirmed it sponsored Miss Bikini Philippines in April 2010, but denied that contestants were staying there on April 24.
"First, we were one of the sponsors, that's true, one of the hotel that sponsored the bikini event," she said. "But the exact date that was being quoted, that was really not the exact date that the pageant was here. That was not the date they arrived with us."
Suntay was referring to an earlier report saying Millenia Suites confirmed that Miss Bikini Philippines candidates were billeted there on April 24, 2010.
The hotel official did not disclose the actual dates Millenia Suites sponsored the pageant's accommodations, saying Miss Bikini Philippines should be the one to disclose this.
Referring to Cabanero's claim about Navarro fetching her at a hotel, Suntay said, "We were like just sponsoring and that was as much as our relationship with them (Miss Bikini Philippines) and as much as what we know what is happening. We're not privy to whatever is happening, we're not privy at all."
Meanwhile, Batalla also denied that Cabanero's complaint specified the date the alleged sexual assault took place, following the testimony of comedian Vice Ganda contradicting their claim.
Vice Ganda, in his sworn statement to be included as evidence in Navarro's counter-affidavit, said the actor was among the guest performers at his concert held at Island Cove resort in Cavite, on the same night Cabanero alleged she was raped.
The management of Island Cove, in a separate interview, confirmed that Navarro was at the resort on the night of April 24, 2010.
Asked when the alleged rape took place, if not on the date shown in the complaint, Batalla only said, "During the time of April 24, 25, 26, and 27."
The first preliminary investigation into Cabanero's rape complaint is scheduled on March 13.
Navarro's lawyer, Atty. Alma Mallonga, on Thursday said their camp will file cases of perjury and libel against Cabanero on the same date, in relation to her claims of sexual assault against the actor.