Businessman Cedric Lee. ABS-CBN News
MANILA - Through his lawyer, businessman Cedric Lee clarified a number of issues, including his ties with singer Vina Morales and former actress Patricia Javier.
During the live episode of "Aquino and Abunda Tonight," host Boy Abunda said Lee requested an opportunity to address allegations directed at him in the wake of his involvement in the mauling of actor Vhong Navarro last January 22.
Lee's legal counsel, Atty. Howard Calleja, sat down with Abunda and co-host Kris Aquino to discuss several points -- the first being the case of athlete David Bunevacz, who had a legal spat with Lee six years ago.
"Klaruhin lang natin 'yung kay David Bunevacz na sinasabing may nangyari sa kanila. Ang katotohanan po no'n, ang may kaso po ay si David Bunevacz," Calleja said.
"Precisely, meron po akong warrant of arrest ni David Bunevacz dito, tatlo. 2008 pa ito, eh. Matagal na ito. At ito 'yung reason kung bakit siya tumakbo [paalis ng] Pilipinas.
"Nung pumutok ito, pinakita ko ito sa mga media, sa mga reporter, kumbaga hindi na-pick up... 'Yung mga sinasabi niya na i-vindicate siya, eh nasa kaso 'yon. Pero ang pinaniwalaan, siya ang may kaso, so siya ang may warrant. So hindi siya pinaniwalaan nung korte," he said.
Lee and four others were accused of beating up Bunevacz, their former business partner in a cosmetic clinic, on the afternoon of November 27, 2007.
Bunevacz's wife, Jessica Rodriguez, claimed in her affidavit that they were subsequently threatened by Lee's group, supposedly over her husband's "anomalous" handling of the clinic's funds. Rodriguez and Bunevacz denied this, but was later charged with estafa even as they left for the United States.
With regard to Javier and Morales, Lee's former partners at different times, Calleja said, "Walang katotohanan po iyon, [iyong] kay Vina, Patricia. Wala naman po silang sinabing masama kay Cedric."
The lawyer did not specify what he was referring to, although Morales recently went on record to deny that she was physically abused by Lee during their relationship, as earlier reported.
Morales and Lee became a couple in 2006, "Buzz ng Bayan" reported last February 2, but separated not long after when the businessman reportedly rekindled his relationship with ex-wife Judy Lee, with whom he has two children.
In an interview in 2011, Morales said she and Lee were no longer a couple when she became pregnant with their only child, who is now four years old. At the time, the actress said she continued having "good communication" with Lee, who she added visited their daughter "almost everyday."
Javier, meanwhile, recently spoke with ABS-CBN North America News Bureau about her relationship with Lee in 2005.
The former sexy actress refused to comment on the businessman's row with Navarro, but was open in recalling how she mistakenly fell in love with a married man, referring to Lee.
In its February 2 episode, "Buzz ng Bayan" also showed a clip of Javier's earlier interview about her breakup with Lee nine years ago. "Nung naghiwalay kami ay nagmamahalan kami. Ang hirap maghiwalay noong time na 'yon," she said at the time.
Calleja, in his interview on "Aquino and Abunda Tonight" on Tuesday, also spoke about Lee's links to officials from the Philippine National Police in several of his businesses.
"There is nothing wrong with having generals in your corporation," the lawyer said. "They are very respected people. At kung titingnan natin, wala naman siyang impluwensiya sa mga pulis kasi ito ay mga ex-generals na, retired na. So wala namang koneksyon 'yun."
"At 'yung sinsabing sa Cebu na meron siyang business doon at sa Iloilo, wala rin naman katotohanan 'yon. At 'yung sa Cebu, malinaw na hindi lang korporasyon ni Cedric ang kasama doon, but it is part of a consortium."
Lee was accused by Iloilo Mayor Mariano Malones of bribing him to approve the construction of a P350-million convention center in the province.
Cebu Vice Governer Agnes Magpale, on the other hand, earlier claimed Lee proposed to put up a power plant in the province but supposedly lacked the shared capital for the project.
Lee is one of the eight respondents in the criminal charges filed by Navarro in relation to the January 22 mauling incident: serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense.
Navarro claimed he was set up by model Deniece Cornejo for an extortion attempt allegedly led by Lee. The actor said he was blindfolded, tied up and attacked by "six to seven men" inside Cornejo's condominium unit in Taguig. He also alleged that his private parts were abused and recorded on video, which Lee has denied.
Cornejo alleged that she was "rescued" by Lee's group from being sexually assaulted by the actor, which supposedly led to the mauling.
The Department of Justice has set the third hearing on Navarro and Cornejo's filed cases on February 28.