Composite picture of Deniece and Cedric Lee
De Lima: Why do they want to prevent us from doing our job?
MANILA - Businessman Cedric Lee and 3 others facing criminal charges filed by actor-host Vhong Navarro have asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop the official probe into the January 22 mauling of the actor.
Lee, his sister Bernice, model Deniece Cornejo, and Simeon Raz filed a petition before the CA to stop the hearings of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the case, as well as the ongoing fact-finding investigation and case build-up of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
They also requested for a temporary protection order.
The fourth division of the CA has yet to act on the petition, saying it will give both the DOJ and the NBI the chance to respond before it makes a ruling.
Both Lee siblings, Cornejo and Raz, along with four others, are facing six criminal charges filed by Navarro: serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense.
Cornejo's rape complaint against Navarro is part of the consolidated cases being heard by the DOJ.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Friday asserted that her agency has the sole mandate of deciding on Navarro's case. Noting that the NBI is also mandated to probe the incident, de Lima said the CA should junk Lee's petition.
"There we go again. There we go again," she said. "Takbo na naman sila sa CA. Why are we prevented from doing our job? The core mandate of the DOJ, NBI is prosecution and investigation. That is a purely executive function and not a judicial function."
Meanwhile, the DOJ has closed its preliminary investigation into the January 22 incident, following the submission of the counter-affidavit of Ferdinand Guerrero, another respondent in Navarro's charges. -- From a report by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News