Atty. Alma Mallonga and Vhong Navarro. Composite Image
MANILA - Atty. Alma Mallonga explained in a television interview on Monday why she agreed to take the case of actor-dancer Vhong Navarro against model Deniece Cornejo and her companions.
Mallonga, who is known for being an advocate of women's rights, said she would have refused to act as Navarro's lawyer if she thinks Cornejo was indeed raped by the actor.
But she didn't believe Cornejo's allegations, which she referred to as "fabrications."
"Actually you know if this has been a rape case at the first instance, I would not have accepted it. But I talked to Vhong and this was about a crime that had been committed against him. And it became very apparent to me that all these claims of rape are all fabrications to deter him, to destroy his reputation," Mallonga said.
"At the get-go, I believe in a woman if she tells me she had been raped. My first inclination is to believe her. So itong mga nakikita natin na obviously na palpably walang kaso, does that make me happy? No. And it really does a lot to damage the cause of women. I have to tell you, I am not happy about that," she added.
Mallonga said she is having a hard time handling Navarro's case, citing messages and threats she is allegedly receiving from the opposing camp.
"Madaming nag-iintriga. Katulad ng sinabi ko before, hindi ba na si Cedric Lee ay nagpapaabot ng mensahe sa akin and even threatening me personally? May ipa-file na kaso, mapapa-disbar ako, hindi ko nga alam kung tatawa ako o iiyak kasi nakalimutan yata nila na abogado ako. So kung ang [panakot] mo ay sasampahan ka ng kaso, medyo [malabo]," she said.
Mallonga also confirmed that Lee tried to reach Navarro and asked for an out of court settlement.
When asked if Navarro agreed, the lawyer said: "No."
"That's the message na ipinaabot sa akin. You know, drop the case, settle the case. Walk away or these things will happen," she said.