No immediate relief for Cedric, Deniece from CA

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 14 2014 08:06 AM | Updated as of Apr 14 2014 04:06 PM

Vhong Navarro, Deniece Cornejo and Cedric Lee. File Photo.

MANILA - The indictment of businessman Cedric Lee and model Deniece Cornejo for beating comedian Vhong Navarro last January will proceed.

The two accused failed to secure immediate relief in their petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) seeking to stop their prosecution for the non-bailable offense of serious illegal detention.

In a resolution issued last week, the special Fourth Division of the appellate court held in abeyance its action on the prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) that could enjoin the Department of Justice (DOJ) from pursuing the case pending resolution in the CA.

Instead, the CA ordered the DOJ to file comment to the petition and the supplemental petition, within 10 days from notice, incorporating arguments on why the temporary restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction prayed for should not be granted.

Petitioners then might file their reply five days after the receipt of comment, the CA added.

Associate Justice Leocia Dimagiba signed the order with Associate Justices Ricardo Rosario and Mario Lopez concurring.

Lee and Cornejo filed their amended petition with the CA last March 4.

They asked the appellate court to stop the DOJ’s preliminary investigation against them due to grave abuse of discretion when the panel immediately submitted for resolution their counter-charge of rape against Navarro after failing to attend the hearing last Feb. 14.

But the DOJ already concluded the preliminary investigation and filed last week the charges of serious illegal detention with absorbed charges of serious physical injuries, grave threats and illegal arrest against the petitioners before the Taguig City regional trial court.

The crime charged under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code is a non-bailable offense.

After preliminary investigation, the panel of three female prosecutors found probable cause in the complaint filed by Navarro against Cornejo, Lee, his sister Bernice, mixed martial artist Zimmer Raz, JP Calma, Ferdinand Guerrero and Jed Fernandez.

The DOJ panel also junked the counter-charge of rape filed by Cornejo against Navarro, saying her statement on the incident “demonstrates physical improbability.”