MANILA – The granduncle of Deniece Cornejo appealed to the public not to prejudge his grandniece, who has been tagged in the mauling of actor-host Vhong Navarro in Taguig.
In a “Buzz ng Bayan” interview aired on Sunday, Rodrigo Cornejo came to the defense of Deniece, saying it’s about time that someone tells the public who she truly is.
Cornejo is a college professor who held a key position in GMA-7.
“Unang una, she’s a lovely and beautiful person, not because she’s my grandniece but because she has a good heart. Ang tingin ko sa kanya ay isang babae na gusto niya patunayan kung ano ang kakayahan niya. She’s the type na gusto umunlad sa kanyang sariling sikap. Alam niya kung ano ang gusto niya. Medyo matapang at determinado,” he told host Boy Abunda.
Cornejo said it is not among Deniece’s priorities to break into showbiz. That’s why he believes that his grandniece isn’t doing this just to be in the limelight.
Cornejo also explained why Deniece's parents have not been seen during this time of crisis.
“Ang kanyang ama nasa abroad. 'Yung kanyang mother and kanyang lola, Deniece is worried, ayaw na niyang mapahamak sila. Aminin na natin sa media, maraming malilikot diyan at hahanglungkatin. Siya ang nagdesisyon. She told me, ‘Huwag kayo mag-alala. Kaya ko ito. Huwag muna kayo makialam, trust me,’” he said.
According to Cornejo, he believes Deniece’s claims because he personally asked her about the incident, as well as her relationship with businessman Cedric Lee.
“I asked her. ‘Deniece, be honest with me, tell me. Unang una, meron ba kayong relasyon?’ Wala [daw]. I asked that. Ako, lalaki ako, siyempre I wasn’t born yesterday also. I looked at her in the eye. ‘Wala lolo.’ ‘Yung charge mo, totoo ba yun?’ Sabi niya, ‘Yes lolo.’ It’s either I believe her or not. And I chose to believe her,” he said.
Cornejo said the only reason Deniece did not immediately talk about the incident was because Navarro “pleaded for mercy.”
“Dinala nila siya sa prisinto and sabi niya ‘I will not file a case against you. I just want this to be a lesson for you.’ Because, according to her, the man pleaded for mercy,” he said.
Cornejo said it hurts him and his family that a lot of bad things have been said against Deniece. His only wish, he said, is for people to get to know Deniece first and to just let the courts decide on the cases filed.
“Masakit kasi hindi maganda ang mga sinasabi. Siya ang biktima eh. Siyempre nakikita ko na parang helpless. Mula nung lumaki ang issue na to, puro negative. Wala akong nakitang magandang sinabi tungkol sa kanya. So sinabi ko, hindi naman tama ito. I think people should know who she is. 'Yun lang, maintindihan nila kung sino ang aking apo,” he said.
“I believe [people should know who she is] just as people should know who Vhong Navarro is. He attempted to rape her and I believe her. Ito lang ang pakiusap ko. Unang una, huwag muna tayo manghusga. Let the courts decide,” he said.