Deniece lawyer laments 'hasty' transfer of rape rap

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2014 06:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 04 2014 02:24 AM

MANILA - The camp of Cedric Lee and Deniece Cornejo laments the "irregular" and "hasty" transfer of Cornejo's rape complaint vs actor-TV host Vhong Navarro from the Taguig City Prosecutor's Office to the Department of Justice (DOJ) main office in Manila.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News, their lawyer, Atty. Howard Calleja, said Lee and Cornejo should have been given the chance to be heard regarding the planned transfer and consolidation of Cornejo's complaint with that of Navarro's.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, in a one-page order dated Feb. 3, ordered the consolidation of Cornejo's complaint with Navarro's complaint for serious illegal detention, serious physical injuries, grave threats, grave coercion, illegal arrest, and blackmail against Lee, Cornejo, Bernice Lee, Ferdinand Guerrero, and Zimmer Raz.

Navarro filed his complaint with the DOJ main office; both cases will now be heard in the main office.

"This is irregular and napakabilis. Dapat binigyan ng chance ang aking mga kliyente to be heard. Ngayon ko lang nalaman, nauna pa ang media," Calleja said.

Calleja also expressed disagreement with the position taken by the DOJ that the two complaints are "founded on the same factual and legal issues," thus the consolidation of the cases.

"May pagkakaiba yung dalawang kaso though may similarities; iba yung rape complaint sa complaint ni Vhong Navarro," Calleja stressed.

Calleja was at the DOJ on Monday afternoon to personally deliver a letter addressed to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, requesting an audience with de Lima on behalf of his clients.

"The other side was given the chance to sit down with her, we also request to be accorded the same opportunity," Calleja said.

Calleja said his clients are expecting "cold neutrality" from the DOJ in the resolution of the cases even as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), an attached agency of the department, is a public complainant in Navarro's complaint.