Tension up as new accusers and accused meet in court
MANILA - All three parties who have separately accused actor Vhong Navarro of rape showed up Thursday morning at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office, where a hearing for the third complaint was held.
Navarro arrived at the venue at around 9 a.m. for the last preliminary investigation into the rape case, which was filed by a 27-year-old former stunt double who worked with the actor in 2009.
The alleged victim claimed she was raped by Navarro that year inside his vehicle, during a break from the taping of the ABS-CBN series "I Love Betty La Fea."
After Monday's hearing, the rape complaint was submitted for resolution. Prosecutor Nilda Ordonio will decide whether there is enough basis to file a case in court.
Aside from the third rape complainant, people who introduced themselves as her relatives attended the preliminary investigation.
Although they had nothing to do with the case, former pageant contestant Roxanne Cabanero and the grandmother of model Deniece Cornejo, Florencia, were also at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.
Cabanero filed a rape complaint against Navarro in February, at the height of the controversy surrounding the actor's encounter with Cornejo's group.
Cabanero has repeatedly denied having ties with Cornejo's group, saying she does not want Cornejo's case affecting her own legal battle with Navarro.
'JAIL THE RAPIST'
Asked why she showed up at Monday's hearing, Cabanero said: "Gusto ko siyang (Navarro) makita. I wanted to see that guy. Hindi ko siya nakita [sa last hearing] namin, kaya gusto ko siya makita."
"In support ko din," she added, referring to the third rape complainant.
"But 'yung kaso ko kasi nasa DOJ (Deparment of Justice). So gusto ko lang malaman kung bakit napunta sa DOJ, when I filed it in Pasig."
Addressing Navarro, Cabanero continued: "Makikita narin kita and I don't know what I'm going to do. Hindi ko alam kung ano'ng gagawin ko sa'yo. Pero gusto kong tingnan mo ako sa mata at sabihin mo sa akin kung ano'ng gusto mong sabihin sa akin."
While waiting for the hearing to finish, Cabanero was seen sitting beside Florencia Cornejo, who was accompanied by several people wearing shirts with a print that says, "Jail the Rapist."
Cornejo, who is currently detained after being charged with serious illegal detention, accused the actor of raping her in January. She claimed that the sexual assault led to the January 22 mauling of Navarro inside her Taguig condominium unit.
Cornejo's rape complaint has since been dismissed by the DOJ.
Last week, Florencia sued Navarro's lawyer, Atty. Alma Mallonga, for grave coercion, following their alleged confrontation during the May 16 trial for the actor's serious illegal detention charge against Cornejo, Cedric Lee, and Simeon "Zimmer" Raz, Jr.
ROXANNE CORNERS VHONG
When Navarro emerged from the hearing on Monday, Cabanero approached the actor and demanded him to face her.
Security personnel escorting Navarro advised against it and immediately surrounded the actor as Cabanero tried to get close to him.
Navarro was cornered into a closed door of an elevator, which would bring him to the lobby of the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.
As Cabanero stood waiting for Navarro to face her, a number of shouts were heard saying, "Ikulong 'yang rapist na 'yan! Rapist!"
Cabanero, who appeared to be crying, then tried to push through the security to reach Navarro. Unable to get through, she threw a pair of sunglasses she was wearing at the actor.
An irate Cabanero refused to answer questions from reporters as she tried to rush out of the venue.
About two hours after the hearing in Quezon City, Navarro was seen live on the noontime variety program "It's Showtime," which he co-hosts. The actor appeared cheerful and made no mention of the incident. -- with a report from Robert Mano, DZMM