MANILA – Model Deniece Cornejo and co-accused Bernice Lee entered a not-guilty plea on Thursday for the crime of grave coercion filed against them by actor-host Vhong Navarro.
Aside from the two, arrest warrants for grave coercion were also issued against Bernice’s brother Cedric Lee, Zimmer Raz, Ferdinand Guerrero, Jed Fernandez and JP Calma last month.
Cedric and Raz are currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila for the crime of serious illegal detention, while both Guerrero and Fernandez remain at large. Calma, on the other hand, left the Philippines on April 10.
Of the seven accused, only Cornejo, Bernice and Fernandez were able to post the P12,000 bail for grave coercion crime in exchange for their provisional liberty.
However, due to Fernandez’s inability to appear before the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) on Thursday, the court will disregard the bail he earlier posted and is set to issue another warrant against him.
Navarro’s lawyer Atty. Mallonga, meanwhile, urged the NBI to explain why Cedric and Raz were not present in Thursday’s preliminary hearing.
Mallonga said she will also ask the court to implement a court decision dated May 6 ordering Cedric and Raz to be transferred to the Taguig City jail.
The Taguig MTC has set the mediation process for the grave coercion case on June 2. -- from a report by Dexter Ganibe, DZMM