MANILA – The grandfather of Deniece Cornejo wants the model to surrender to authorities in connection with the serious illegal detention charge filed against her by actor-host Vhong Navarro.
"I believe Deniece is telling the truth. Because of this I believe she should immediately submit herself to the authorities and trust the judicial system to determine the truth once and for all," her grandfather Rod Cornejo said in a statement sent to "Buzz ng Bayan," which was read on Sunday.
He also asked viewers not to judge Cornejo, whose rape complaint against Navarro was junked by the Department of Justice.
"I, therefore, appeal to your viewers to withhold their judgement and allow the process to determine the truth, the truth that sets one free," the elder Cornejo added.
Meanwhile, Atty. Emetrio Dongallo of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Samar District Office told “Buzz ng Bayan” that the model was probably with co-accused Cedric Lee and Simeon "Zimmer" Raz when the two were caught by authorities in Oras, Eastern Samar last April 26.
“Sinearch namin 'yung bahay. May napansin kaming damit ng babae. Inisip namin na baka nandoon 'yung isang suspect na babae, si Deniece,” Dongallo said.
This despite Lee’s statement that he does not know the whereabouts of Cornejo.
ABS-CBN News and other reporters were able to speak with Lee and Raz last Sunday while they were being brought to the NBI headquarters in Manila.
Appearing in high spirits, Lee said in jest, "Hindi ko po alam [kung nasaan si Deniece]. Mabagal 'yon, hindi namin puwedeng isama! Excess baggage 'yon!"
Aside from Lee and Raz, arrest warrants for the non-bailable offense of serious illegal detention were issued against Cornejo, Ferdinand Guerrero and Jed Fernandez -- who remain at large.
All five, plus Lee's sister Bernice and Jose Paolo Calma, were issued separate arrest warrants for grave coercion. Bernice, Cornejo and Fernandez earlier posted P12,000 bail each for the said criminal offense.
Calma, meanwhile, left the Philippines last April 10 despite a lookout bulletin order mentioning his name.