Cedric Lee on Vhong's arrest: 'I feel vindicated'


Posted at Sep 20 2022 07:27 PM

Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo, and Vhong Navarro. FILE/Composite
Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo, and Vhong Navarro. FILE/Composite

MANILA — Cedric Lee, the businessman convicted for grave coercion over the 2014 mauling of Vhong Navarro, said Tuesday he feels “vindicated” over the arrest of the actor-host in relation to the cases of act of lasciviousness and rape filed against him by model Deniece Cornejo.

In a statement to ABS-CBN News, Lee said: “He has to face all the charges against him. Just like we did. I feel slightly vindicated [because] finally we will have our day in court after almost 9 years. This serial rapist will finally be made to answer for all the women he raped.

“He [can’t] hide anymore behind (Leila) de Lima who's now in jail, or (Tony) Calvento who's now dead, or ABS who lost its franchise. His modus operandi of being a serial rapist will now be exposed.”

Lee was referring to former senator Leila de Lima, who was Justice Secretary in 2014; the late columnist Tony Calvento, who died in 2017; and Navarro’s home network ABS-CBN, which was denied the renewal of its broadcast franchise in 2020.

Lee also told ABS-CBN News that he was the authorized recipient of Cornejo’s copy of the arrest warrant issued against Navarro on Monday for the acts of lasciviousness case.

For that arrest warrant, Branch 116 of the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court recommended bail of P36,000.

Navarro surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday for the first arrest warrant with the intent to post bail, when the second warrant of arrest — for Cornejo’s rape complaint — was served. Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan specified in the one-page order that the rape case is “not bailable.”

Shortly after surrendering to the NBI, Navarro was detained at its Manila headquarters overnight and remains there, as of writing.

Before the second warrant was issued, Navarro expressed frustration over the resurfacing of the cases against him that had already been dismissed.

The filing of both the rape and acts of lasciviousness charges against Navarro came after a Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Cornejo, which reversed the DOJ’s junking of all the complaints she filed against Navarro due to inconsistent statements.

“Iyon ang nakakalungkot, kasi for how many years, akala namin, tapos na, patapos na. Kaya nagulat kami, na after ilang years, ito ulit, nabuhay, at parang ako pa ang nababaliktad. Ako ang biktima. Ang hirap paniwalaan,” he told ABS-CBN News.

“Ako, mula noong 2014, inilahad ko ‘yung lahat ng nangyari. Wala akong tinago, sinabi ko lahat. Alam ng Panginoon ‘yun, na nagsasabi ako ng totoo. Kaya, ngayon, ang bigat ng loob ko. Bakit ganito?” — Report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News