Former pageant contestant Roxanne Cabanero. ABS-CBN News
MANILA - Roxanne Cabanero is claiming that organizers of Miss Bikini Philippines are conniving with Vhong Navarro in filing a P1.6-million lawsuit against her.
She considers the lawsuit filed by the contest organizers as "harassment."
Slimmers World International, the group behind Miss Bikini Philippines, wants Cabanero to pay P1 million "for the damage sustained by [the organization's] goodwill and business reputation."
This is in addition to P400,000 as corrective damages and P205,000 for legal costs.
The pageant organizer said the moral damages were brought about by Cabanero's repeated and unwarranted mention of Miss Bikini Philippines and Slimmers World in her rape complaint against Navarro, as well as in media interviews.
On Monday, Slimmers World and Cabanero attended the Makati Regional Trial Court's hearing on a temporary protection order against the former pageant contestant, which, if granted, will bar her from mentioning the organization as well ask Miss Bikini Philippines in public.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News shortly before the hearing, Cabanero's legal counsel, Atty. Virgilio Batalla, called the case "absurd," saying that mentioning Miss Bikini Philippines is a "privilege" of his client considering her complaint.
"The injunction is all about stopping Roxanne from mentioning the entity name," Batalla said. "But it is very required to mention the pageant because there is no reason that Roxanne will be at Channel 2 without the pageant."
Batalla was referring to the alleged first meeting of Cabanero and Navarro on April 24, 2010, when contestants of Miss Bikini Philippines, including Cabanero, made a promotional visit to "It's Showtime," which Navarro co-hosts.
"Roxanne did not come to 'It's Showtime' by invitation of anyone or by her own volition but on the program of the pageant," Batalla added. "So it is really absurd not to mention the name of the pageant. We're doing it in good faith. It is the right of my complaint, a privilege to her to mention the pageant name."
The lawyer also referred to the case against Cabanero as "a part of the harassment against my client."
After the hearing on Monday, Cabanero said she feels harassed by Slimmers World with the lawsuit and called it an impediment in her rape case against Navarro.
"Of course, feeling ko naha-harass talaga ako. Masakit siya. Stress," she said. "Sobrang nasi-stress ako sa mga pangyayari. Pinaglalaban ko 'yung isang bagay tapos ito, medyo humaharang para ipaglaban ko 'yung dapat kong ipaglaban. So 'yun lang, medyo masakit."
Asked if she is ready to pay the P1.6 million being demanded from her by Slimmers World, should the court rule in favor of the organization, Cabanero pointed it that "both my parents are not rich."
Noting she has lost her job since the controversy involving Navarro erupted, Cabanero said, "Siyempre, nasa-shock ako at nakakadismaya. But we'll see. Nandiyan 'yung lawyer ko at I'm very confident na ipaglalaban niya ako, dahil ang pinaglalaban namin ang katotohanan."
"Karapatan kong sabihin kung anuman ang meron doon sa katotohanan na 'yon, and I'm not going to be discouraged by any of this harassment or 'yung mga tactics nila," she said.
Cabanero was quick to answer when asked if she thinks Navarro's camp has anything to do with the lawsuit, only saying, "Obviously."
The legal counsel of Slimmer's World, Atty. Sunita Chua, denied that the organization has ties with Navarro.