Actor Vhong Navarro swears by his testimony against Cedric Lee's group at the Department of Justice last February 6. Photo: ABS-CBN News
MANILA - The latest rape complaint against Vhong Navarro is meant to ridicule and shame the actor, his lawyer said on Thursday, noting the "unnecessary" and repeated mention of a detail of his genitals.
Navarro submitted his counter-affidavit in the rape case, the third filed against him in four months, before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office on Thursday morning.
The case, according to Navarro's legal counsel Atty. Alma Mallonga, has already been submitted for resolution, since no one from the complainant's side attended the preliminary investigation.
According to Mallonga, the 27-year-old complainant from Antipolo City alleged that she was raped by Navarro in 2009. The incident supposedly happened during a break from the taping of "I Love Betty La Fea," wherein the complainant worked as a stunt double and Navarro appeared in a supporting role.
The ABS-CBN series aired for almost seven months until April 24, 2009.
Citing the complaint-affidavit, Mallonga said the alleged victim claimed that she was raped by Navarro inside his sports utility vehicle or SUV.
In answering the allegations, the lawyer detailed four points raised by Navarro in his sworn statement, including the supposed lack of a specific date in the rape complaint.
"Isang napakahalaga sa amin is the fact that this happened more five years ago, sa isang panahon na even the complainant does not say exactly when. She says 'sometime early 2009.'
"And I would imagine kung totoo o mahalaga sa'yo ang complaint mo ay sisikapin mo malaman naman kahit na 'yung buwan siguro, but she did not do that," Mallonga said.
The lawyer also cast doubts on the complainant's narration of the alleged rape, saying that based on the circumstances mentioned in the affidavit, she could have easily asked for help.
"Secondly, ang sinabi noong babae, may karahasang ginawa sa kanya si Vhong under the circumstances na sa loob ng isang kotse na maraming tao ang nakapaligid. Hindi siya humingi ng tulong, hindi siya sumigaw kahit napakaraming babaeng nandoon. At iyong pagkaka-narrate niya, mukha namang hindi siya nanlaban nang husto."
The third point raised by Mallonga, which she said gives them reason to believe that the rape complaint is only meant to "shame" her client, is that repeated mention of his private parts in the affidavit.
"Paulit-ulit siyang merong sinasabi na hindi maganda sa physical attributes ni Vhong na sa aming palagay ay hindi kailangan. Kaya paulit-ulit na sinasabi -- mga apat o limang beses -- ay para lang hiyain si Vhong. What she says about Vhong is not true. We will not go into details, but obviously it is not true."
Mallonga was referring to the complainant mentioning that Navarro is not circumcised -- a matter addressed by the actor in his counter-affidavit.
"Logic and common sense dictate that a victim of oral rape should know for certain whether her assailant is circumcised," the affidavit read. "All she could do was venture a guess; she said that I appeared to be uncircumcised because of the excess loose skin on its tip. In any event, she is wrong because I am circumcised."
Mallonga added: "The fact that she says it unnecessarily and repeatedly sends to us a message na itong complaint na ito is not really for the purpose of furthering a due case for rape, but that the purpose is to ridicule, shame, maybe discourage Vhong from pursuing his claims against respondents who are now just waiting for the resolution of the Department of Justice."
At the time of the interview, the DOJ had yet to announce its ruling on the criminal charges filed by Navarro against the camp of businessman Cedric Lee, who Mallonga has been vocal in suspecting as the one behind the second and this latest rape complaint against the actor.
The DOJ said it has found probable cause to charge Lee and six others for grave coercion and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense, in relation to the January 22 mauling incident which left Navarro with serious injuries.
The DOJ also dismissed the rape complaint filed against Navarro by model Deniece Cornejo, one of Lee's co-accused in the criminal charges.
A fourth point raised by Mallonga about the third rape complaint against Navarro is the alleged victim's supposed gender preference. According to the lawyer, Navarro confirmed that he knows the complainant, adding that she is openly lesbian.
"Vhong is well aware about the gender preference of [woman's name]. Alam naman ng lahat din iyon... Bakit naman siya pagkaka-interesan naman for example ni Vhong, kung alam naman niyang wala siyang pag-asa?"
Mallonga added: "What I'm saying is Vhong is really surprised that this is the woman [who filed the complaint]. He does not know kung ano ang pinanggagalingan."