Vhong's camp to be receptive if accused tells truth


Posted at Apr 22 2014 09:28 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2014 12:01 AM

Vhong Navarro. Photo: ABS-CBN

MANILA – Vhong Navarro’s legal counsel said their camp will be receptive in case it’s true that one of the men accused of mauling the actor is now ready to tell everything he knows about the alleged plan to beat him up on the night of January 22.

According to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, one of the men accused, whom she did not name, has applied to become a state witness to detail an alleged "Oplan Bugbog" planned by the group of businessman Cedric Lee.

In an interview with DZMM on Tuesday morning, Atty. Alma Mallonga said they will respect this development as long as the said accused will tell the whole truth.

“Alam mo itong kasong ito, just to be clear, hindi ito about settlement. This is not about money or anything else. It’s about getting justice. So the parameters have always been are you prepared to tell the truth? Kung ganun ang inyong pananaw, I think there will be a way of trying to help you out,” she said.

Saying this is not new to them, Mallonga said, “From the very beginning, sinasabi namin na kung sino ang may gustong magsabi ng katotohanan, we are going to be very receptive. And I can’t deny na merong mga efforts through emissaries to reach out. But ang bottom line has always been, ikaw ba ay masasabi ng katotohanan?”

Mallonga, however, said they will try to coordinate with the Department of Justice on Tuesday to get more information about this case.

“I understand na meron nga silang iniimbestigahan. I think they are processing him and trying to find out if he can be a state witness. Today, we will try to find out more. I’m very sure that we will be able to get more information,” she said.

When asked if Navarro has a say in accepting or turning down the accused seeking to turn state witness, Mallonga said, “I would not say that he would. But I would say of course, a private complainant can interpose our views about the matter.”

Those accused of beating Navarro are Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo, Bernice Lee, Simeon Raz, Jed Fernandez, Jose Paolo Calma and Ferdinand Guerrero.

Last week, arrest warrants for all seven were issued by the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court in connection with the criminal charge of grave coercion.

Cornejo and Fernandez have since posted P12,000 bail for the said case.

On Monday, arrest warrants for the non-bailable offense of serious illegal detention were issued by the Taguig Regional Trial Court against the group, except Calma and Bernice Lee.

As regards to the exclusion of Calma and Bernice Lee in the issuance of warrants for the serious illegal detention charge, Mallonga said they will question the court’s resolution through the proper legal process.

“Sa aming pananaw, hindi rin malinaw sa amin kung bakit hindi sinama si Bernice Lee at si JP Calma dahil sa amin, alam namin kung ano ang ebidensya, alam namin ang facts. Magtatanong kami,” she said.

Nonetheless, Mallonga said Navarro’s camp is “very happy because so far, the process has been working for us.”