MANILA – Actor and host Vhong Navarro will ask the Court of Appeals (CA) to reconsider its decision ordering the filing of rape and attempted rape charges against him over a 2014 incident involving model Deniece Cornejo.
In an interview with TeleRadyo on Tuesday, Navarro’s counsel Atty. Alma Mallonga said they will pursue this remedy once they receive a copy of the CA decision reversing the 2018 and 2020 resolutions of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which junked Cornejo’s complaints on the ground that the allegations suffered credibility issues.
“Actually hindi pa namin pormal na natatanggap 'yung decision. Pagkatanggap namin, baka kumuha nga kami ng kopya, magsasampa na kami ng Motion for Reconsideration. Ang ibig sabihin doon, hindi talaga final pa 'yung decision ng Court of Appeals. Maaari pa niyang tignan ulit. 'Yun ang aming imumungkahi, na tignan muli 'yung petition,” she said.
Mallonga also pointed out that the serious illegal detention case Navarro had filed against the other parties is still ongoing, and at the core of it is the premise that the actor-host is actually the victim and that he did not commit rape.
“Anong mangyayari, na ang DOJ ang tumutugis kanila Deniece tapos biglang sinasabi na, ‘Hindi, baliktarin natin ang kwento.’ Para ba namang siguro interference 'yun sa pag-prosecute ng criminal case. Ang lead prosecutor diyan ay DOJ, private prosecutors lang kami,” she said.
Mallonga said their camp believes in the criminal justice system in the country and Navarro will exercise all rights and remedies that are available to him under the law.
“Hindi pa final 'yung decision ng Court of Appeals. Beyond the Court of Appeals, may remedy pa ng petition for review on certiorari sa Korte Suprema kung sakali. Naniniwala pa rin kami sa justice system. Katulad ng kabilang panig, we just like to reaffirm na we stand by the judicial system. Let’s see what happens.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the CA ruling ordering prosecutors to file rape and attempted rape charges against Navarro, Justice Secretary Boying Remulla told reporters: “We will obey the courts.”
Cornejo accused Navarro of raping her in her condo unit in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City on Jan. 22, 2014.
The incident was widely covered by the media because it led to the mauling of Navarro, after Cornejo’s “friends,” Cedric Lee and some companions, beat him up inside Cornejo’s condo unit before tying him up and bringing him to a Southern Police District station.
Navarro claimed Lee, Cornejo and their companions tried to extort up to P2 million from him and forced him to confess to attempting to rape Cornejo by signing a police blotter.
A Taguig court in July 2018 subsequently convicted Lee, Cornejo and Jed Fernandez of grave coercion and sentenced them to up to 3 yeas and 6 months in prison.
But in ruling in favor of filing of charges against Navarro, the appellate court did not discuss the grave coercion conviction nor the alleged impossibility of rape within one minute, as the National Bureau of Investigation previously pointed out.