MANILA - A Taguig court has found Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo and Jed Fernandez guilty of grave coercion in connection with the charges filed by actor-host Vhong Navarro.
The dispositive portion of the ruling penned by Metropolitan Trial Court of Taguig Branch 74 Presiding Judge Bernard Pineda Bernal reads:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused DENIECE MILLINETTE CORNEJO, CEDRIC CUA LEE, and SAJED FERNANDEZ ABUHIJLEH a.k.a. JED FERNANDEZ GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Grave Coercion and, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, sentences them to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum, to three (3) years and six (6) months of prison correccional medium as maximum. The period of their preventive imprisonment shall be credited to the service of their sentence. No pronouncement as to costs.
Another suspect, Bernice Cua Lee a.k.a. Marie, was acquitted due to reasonable doubt.
Navarro filed the complaint because he was allegedly forced, after being assaulted and detained in Cornejo's condominium unit, to admit to attempting to rape Cornejo by signing in a police blotter at the Southern Police District Station station, where he was brought by the accused after his assault and detention.
Prosecutors presented evidence including CCTV footage showing Navarro entering the elevator on his way to Cornejo's unit and Cornejo entering the same elevator one minute later to prove that the supposed rape was "physically impossible."
Navarro's manager, film director Chito Rono, earlier said Navarro was a victim of extortion.
The Department of Justice last year dismissed rape and attempted rape complaints filed by Cornejo against Navarro.