MANILA — Taguig City prosecutors have filed a rape case against comedian-host Vhong Navarro over the alleged rape of model Deniece Cornejo in 2014.
In an information filed on Wednesday, August 31, with the Taguig City Regional Trial Court, Navarro is accused of intoxicating and raping model Deniece Cornejo on January 17, 2014 in her condo unit in Taguig.
The filing comes after the Court of Appeals granted Cornejo's petition challenging the dismissal of the rape charge before the Department of Justice.
The DOJ junked Cornejo's rape complaint against Navarro due to inconsistent statements in her affidavits but the CA said Navarro is better off raising his defenses during trial in court.
In her initial complaint-affidavit filed with the DOJ, Cornejo claimed she was raped on January 22, 2014 and that Navarro only visited her on January 17, 2014.
In subsequent complaints however, she claimed she was also raped on January 17, 2014, providing additional details such as being intoxicated due to a drug-laced wine in her third complaint.
The DOJ, acting on Cornejo’s appeal, said she was not able to explain inconsistencies in her affidavits.
But the CA said the issue of credibility should be determined during trial proper in court.
The Jan. 22, 2014 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.
In ruling in favor of filing of charges against Navarro, the appellate court did not discuss the grave coercion conviction against Lee, Cornejo and Jed Fernandez nor the alleged impossibility of rape within one minute, as the National Bureau of Investigation previously pointed out.
In the original complaint, Cornejo claimed the following allegedly took place within that period:
-she offered him juice and refreshments
-he joked and stroked her hair
-he dragged her towards the sofa
-he tried to lay on top of her but she managed to run away
-she tried to grab her phone but he caught up with her
-he pinned her down and forced her to perform oral sex
-he had sex with her as she tried to push him
According to Cornejo’s claim, her friends “suddenly appeared to her rescue.”
But CCTV footage presented by the NBI showed Cornejo taking the elevator to go down the condo building and was therefore not in the condo unit when Lee and his companions arrived to supposedly rescue her, according to NBI assistant regional director Vicente de Guzman in January 2014.
Navarro has filed a motion for reconsideration and a motion for the issuance of the status quo ante order to stop Taguig prosecutors from filing the case in court.
On Thursday, Navarro's camp was able to secure an order from Taguig RTC Executive Judge Antonio Olivete which holds off the raffling of the case until Navarro's pending motions at the Court of Appeals are resolved.
"In the interest of justice, the undersigned is of the opinion that the Motion for Reconsideration including the Urgent Motion for the Issuance of a Status Quo Ante Order should be resolved first before further proceedings should be taken in the criminal case filed against accused Ferdinand Navarro in Taguig City,” he said.
She noted that Cornejo changed her story several times, alleging that Navarro had raped her twice on January 17 and January 22.
She said Cornejo's first complaint affidavit against Navarro "specifically said no rape happened on January 17. " However, Cornejo backtracked and said a rape did occur but only after Navarro filed a complaint against her for serious illegal detention and grave coercion.
"It's an afterthought, it was incredible and as correctly found by the Department of Justice, it is not consistent with human behavior. If as you say you were raped on January 17, why would you even meet up with Mr. Navarro on January 22?" Mallonga said.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, Navarro said he was alarmed that the rape case has resurfaced.
“Ever since na nagsimula to, nagsabi ako ng katotohanan. Hindi ako nagsinungaling. Consistent ako dun sa mga affidavit namin. Kumbaga lahat kinwento ko dun. Di ba paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, ang pagkakasala ko, ang kasalanan ko rito ay yung niloko ko yung girlfriend ko noon at ito na yung wife ko noon,” he said.
“Nilahad ko yung istorya ko at yun lahat ang katotohanan. So lahat ng binibintang nila sa akin ay hindi totoo. At ako’y nagsasabi ng totoo. At alam ng Panginoon na nagsasabi ako ng totoo,” he added.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the camp of Cornejo through her lawyer but has yet to receive a response.