Vhong Navarro and Deniece Cornejo. Composite image
MANILA - Vhong Navarro on Friday filed his counter-affidavit in the second rape complaint filed against him by Deniece Cornejo, who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by the actor twice in January.
Navarro's counter-affidavit, which was submitted at the Taguig Regional Trial Court, is in response to Cornejo's accusation that he forced her to have sex at her condominium unit on January 17.
Cornejo's first rape complaint, which details the alleged events of January 22, has been dismissed by the Department of Justice.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Ginger Conejero, Navarro's legal counsel, Atty. Alma Mallonga, expressed confidence that this second case against her client will also be dismissed.
"Basically, our defense in the counter-affidavit is that Deniece herself, in two earlier sworn declarations, had maintained that nothing had happened between her and Vhong [on January 17] and there was no allegation of rape whatsoever," Mallonga said.
She added: "In fact, what she had said in those two sworn declarations was that Vhong left. Vhong simply left the unit, and that's it."
Cornejo first alleged that she was raped by Navarro on January 17 in her counter-affidavit in the criminal charges filed against her by the actor, which she submitted last February 22.
The aspiring model made no mention of sexual assault on the 17th in her complaint-affidavit in the first rape case, which she filed against Navarro last January 29.
In his complaint-affidavit in relation to the January 22 incident, Navarro said he and Cornejo had oral sex on January 17 during their first meeting. This was denied by Cornejo's legal counsel, Atty. Howard Calleja, in a January 30 interview.
However, Calleja, in a February 25 interview, said he never denied that his client had sexual relations with Navarro during their first meeting.
"Wala ho kaming dini-deny," he said at the time. "Ang sinasabi ko nga, malinaw po 'yon, even in the affidavit of Deniece. We were just silent about it. Hindi kami nag-deny. Wala kaming sinabing walang nangyari."
Explaining why Cornejo only detailed the alleged rape on January 17 in her counter-affidavit, Calleja said, "We have to give leeway and understanding to the rape victim. It is hard enough to relive one's experience again and again and again. And it's harder to relive two or three or more than one experience."
Another point raised in Navarro's counter-affidavit in Cornejo's second rape complaint, Mallonga said on Friday, is the fact that arrest warrants have already been issued against Cornejo and the others accused in mauling the actor on the night of January 22.
"Of course, in our defense, we also said that the first complaint for rape that had been filed by Deniece has already been dismissed. And also, the complaint for serious illegal detention that Vhong had filed against Deniece has prospered," Mallonga said.
Cornejo recently posted P12,000 bail for the grave coercion charge filed by Navarro. She is now considered a fugitive, as she has yet to surface following the issuance of a separate arrest warrant for the non-bailable offense of serious illegal detention.
"We maintain in our counter-affidavit that this belated assertion of rape is actually an attempt to dilute the issues and to protect herself in the charge of serious illegal detention," Mallonga said.
"But her strategy is not working because, in fact, probable cause has been found to charge her with serious illegal detention, and that's where we are now."