Vhong Navarro and Roxanne Cabanero
MANILA – “He raped me and I’m here to find justice.”
These were the words of Roxanne Cabenero as she insisted that actor-host Vhong Navarro indeed made advances on her four years ago while she was still a contestant in the Miss Bikini Philippines pageant.
Speaking to “Buzz ng Bayan” host Boy Abunda, Cabanero narrated what transpired in April 2010 when the rape allegedly happened as she claims in her sworn affidavit. She also explained the confusions regarding when and where the incident took place.
“Yung first niyang text sa akin ‘Hi, this is Vhong.’ Of course, natuwa ako nung nagtext siya sa akin. Sinabi ko sa ibang kandidata right after we left ABS-CBN,” she said.
“And then umuwi kami sa hotel and then nag-rehearsal kami. Nung time na 'yun I cannot recall which hotel. On the duration of the pageant, paiba-iba kami ng hotel. Nagche-check in kami sa different hotels. But definitely nag-check in kami sa Millenia Suites, which is in Pasig. Bumalik kami ng hotel and we kept on texting and then the time that he picked me up,” she added.
Cabanero, however, admitted that she is not sure of the exact date of the incident.
“Basta nung time na nag-check in kami sa Millenia Suites, one of those dates, he picked me up in the hotel. Nung nasa sasakyan na ako, nag-usap na kami, bigla niyang sinabi na let’s go somewhere private. Siyempre na-shock ako sa somewhere private,” she said.
Supporting his client’s claim, Atty. Virgilio Batalla said the rape happened anytime between April 24 to April 27, 2010.
Batalla said Navarro has been “misleading the public by inculcating to the mind of the public that the rape happened on the 24th where they can establish a very good alibi.”
“We know very well that Vhong is a celebrity and as a lawyer or anybody, you just click on Google to find out where is Vhong on the 24th. That is on the record. Why will we accuse him on the 24th if we know that he is there with everybody who can testify?” he said.
Meanwhile, Batalla urged those who are not involved in the case to refrain from meddling, referring to journalist Tony Calvento, who earlier published a copy of Cabanero’s affidavit on his Facebook account.
“He should not meddle in this case. He is not the counsel of Vhong, he’s not the counsel of my client. He’s not even the prosecutor. Calvento should stop. This is not a public affair. This is private to my client and to Vhong,” Batalla said.
Saying she felt violated by what Calvento did, Cabanero said: “Gusto ko ng hustiya. Sa mga sinasabi ng tao, sa lahat ng masasakit na salita na binibitawan nila, sa ginawa ni Mr. Calvento, putting my personal complaint affidavit on Facebook is out of respect. Binastos niya ako.”
Calvento, however, maintained he is not an irresponsible journalist and he sees nothing wrong with publishing Cabanero’s affidavit online.
“Ako’y napasok sa kasong ito dahil lumapit ang isang mutual friend. We met, Atty. Mallonga, then Atty Dennis Manalo was with the team and Chito Rono. Humingi sila ng assistance. Kasama iyan sa aking trabaho. I’ve been doing that for over two decades,” he said.
“Si Atty. Batalla, ngayon ko lang narinig ang pangalan na iyan. Sino siya para sabihing tumigil ako? Kay Roxanne, I am not an irresponsible print and broadcast journalist. Saan ang binastos ko sa affidavit niya? When pinublish ko ang kanyang affidavit, which is a public document, after she had sworn, nilagay ko pa nga doon ay name withheld, I withheld her name. Kapag rape victim ang pinag-uusapan, hindi mo binabanggit ang pangalan. Hindi mo nga pinapakita ang mukha. Pero sino ba ang lumabas at nagpa-interview?” he said.
Cabanero's filed her rape complaint against Navarro amid the controversy surrounding a January 22 mauling incident which left the actor with serious injuries.
She denied having any ties with any of the eight respondents in the criminal charges filed by Navarro, including businessman Cedric Lee and model Deniece Cornejo, adding she does not want her to case to be affected by the legal battle in relation to the mauling in Taguig.
The Pasig City Prosecutor's Office is set to hold a hearing on Navarro's perjury complaint against Cabanero in the coming weeks.