DOJ affirms junking of rape charges vs Vhong Navarro

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2018 07:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 12 2018 08:00 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has affirmed its earlier resolution junking rape and attempted rape charges against actor and television host Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro. 

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by model Deniece Cornejo, accusing Navarro of two counts of rape -- by sexual intercourse and by sexual assault -- which allegedly took place in her condominium unit on Jan. 17 and 22, 2014, respectively.

In a 20-page resolution dated April 30 obtained by ABS-CBN News on Thursday, the DOJ denied Cornejo’s plea for a reversal of the DOJ Prosecutor General’s review resolution on September 6, 2017.

The September 2017 resolution reversed an earlier recommendation for Navarro’s indictment before the courts.

In its April 30 ruling, the DOJ said there is “no sufficient evidence to warrant [Navarro’s] indictment for rape and attempted rape, there is no compulsion to indict him accordingly.”

The DOJ stood pat on its earlier findings that Cornejo “suffers from a very serious credibility issue” due to “major inconsistencies” in her three complaint-affidavits against Navarro.

It may be recalled that Cornejo’s first complaint stated that no rape took place, followed by a claim of rape by force in her second complaint, and on her third complaint she claimed the alleged rape was committed with the use of drug-laced wine that rendered her dizzy and weak. 

The DOJ also did not give weight to Cornejo’s claim of “new evidence” against Navarro such as records of two previous rape complaints filed by two women, a published statement from another woman that allegedly shows Navarro’s “character and malicious tendency to take advantage of and rape women," and the alleged date-rape drug.

The DOJ said these supposed “new evidence” were already “discoverable and available” beforehand.

“In other words, these pieces of evidence are not newly discovered evidence and are being introduced in violation of the principle governing newly discovered evidence.”

Regarding the earlier separate rape complaints, the DOJ said these did not repair Cornejo’s “incredible account of the incident.” It said the earlier complaints “are not evidence to prove that, one, [Navarro] really raped them and two, he raped [Cornejo].”

“Her case implodes from its own weakness. It would be such a stretch to breathe credibility into what is essentially lifeless simply because [Navarro] fits the profile of a rapist. The profile does not help,” the resolution pointed out.