The lawyer of actor Vhong Navarro is in disbelief over the issuance of twin arrest warrants against the actor, saying they were not even given a copy of the 2nd warrant or court resolution on the filing of rape charges against Navarro.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Atty. Alma Mallonga said Navarro is currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation after the 2nd arrest warrant was issued past 4 p.m. Monday.
Navarro's lawyers are set to secure a copy of the arrest warrant and court resolution in order to file a motion for reconsideration and petition for bail.
"Totoo, Jeff, na si Mr. Vhong Navarro in the meantime ay nakakulong, nakakulong para sa isang alegasyon ng rape, na kaya ko ikinwento ng mahaba ay alam natin na hindi siya mako-convict doon. Walang ebidensya kaya bakit niyo siya pinakulong? Bakit niyo itinuloy yung pagsasampa ng kaso sa kanya at bakit nagkaroon ng issuance ng warrant of arrest? Bakit?" she asked.
"I think physically si Vhong is OK. Ako ay kumpiyansa na habang siya ay nasa NBI he will be safe. Yun ang pinakaimportante. Dun sa ibang tanong na kumusta siya emotionally, I am very sure he's not OK. Siguro katulad ng mga nagmamahal sa kanyang iba, malungkot ang mga pangyayari kahapon. Ang importante ay we will continue to do what is necessary . Lalaban tayo," she added.
A Taguig court issued the arrest warrant against Navarro over the non-bailable case of rape filed by former model Deniece Cornejo — the second warrant the actor-host faced on Monday.
The warrant of arrest for the rape complaint was issued by Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan.
The one-page order indicated that “the bail for the release of the accused is ‘NOT BAILABLE for RAPE under Article 266-A of the RPC (Revised Penal Code) as amended by RA 8353’.”
Navarro earlier on the same day surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation after the issuance of an arrest warrant for the separate acts of lasciviousness case also filed by Cornejo.
For that complaint, Branch 116 of the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court recommended bail of P36,000.
Cornejo initially claimed Navarro raped her in her condominium unit on January 22, 2014 but later claimed she was also raped on January 17 of the same year.
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.
'MAULED, TIED UP, FORCED TO CONFESS'
In the interview, Mallonga questioned why the warrants were issued considering there is a pending motion for reconsideration over the CA ruling.
"Hindi ako makapaniwala na umabot tayo sa ganito. Also because gusto ko lang i-emphasize na yaman din lamang na gumawa ng reversal yung Court of Appeals, may motion for reconsideration pa rin kami doon," she said.
"Under the rules, dapat hindi tumuloy ang kaso na ito. That is the reason why part of the thing we will do is we will file a motion for reconsideration both doon sa kasong acts of lasciviousness at pati na rin doon sa rape kuno against kay Vhong Navarro."
She said it is important to look back at the events of Jan. 22, 2014, when Navarro was mauled and tied up by the group of Cedric Lee "and forced to confess to a crime at a Taguig police station" in an alleged attempt to extort money from him.
"January 22, 2014, 8 years ago. Ano ba ang nangyari? Meron krimen na naganap laban kay Vhong Navarro. Siya ay binugbog, siya ay dinetine. There were threats made upon him. Tinutukan siya ng baril, tinali ang kanyang paa at kamay. Binidyo siya at binaboy siya at meron hininging pera sa kanya. Tapos dinala siya sa police station sa Taguig para i-blotter yung pagcommit daw niya ng alleged attempted rape kay Deniece."
"Bakit binlotter ito? Sinabi ay para hindi siya magsumbong. Para manigurado na siya'y magbayad at huwag siyang magsumbong. Naalala natin yung hitsura ni Vhong noon, nung nasa ospital siya. Bugbog. At kahit takot na takot siya dahil binantaan siya na huwag siyang magsusumbong, marami sa mga nagmamahal sa kanya sinabi, kung may karapatan ka, dapat ipaglaban mo. So si Mr. Vhong Navarro ay nagreklamo."
Mallonga said Cornejo only filed the rape case against Navarro after the actor had filed serious illegal detention and grave coercion charges against Cornejo, Lee and several others.
She noted that Cornejo's initial complaint said that Navarro had tried to rape her inside her condominium unit on January 22, 2014 but later backtracked and said Navarro had also raped her on January 17.
CCTV footage also revealed Navarro stepping out of the elevator to go to Cornejo’s unit at 21:59:50 (actual time: 10:39 pm) while Cornejo stepped inside the elevator at 22:00:53 (actual time: 10:40 pm) or around a minute after Navarro stepped out.
"Paulit-ulit na dismissal from the Office of the City Prosecutor, by the Prosecutor-General, by the Secretary of Justice. Paulit-ulit na binasura doon sa January 17 na rape kuno," the lawyer said.
"Ang tanong doon is - kung ikaw ay talagang na-rape noong January 17, bakit ka pa nakipagkita noong January 22? At kung sinasabi mo na hinalay ka noong January 22, dahil yun ang una niyang sinasabi, bakit sa CCTV footage nakikita na ikaw ay ngumingiti at napakakalmado?"
Mallonga noted Lee and Cornejo have already been convicted for grave coercion over the mauling of Navarro. The second case against Lee, Cornejo, et al for serious illegal detention is still being prosecuted in court when the CA issued its ruling reversing the junking of all charges filed by Cornejo against Navarro.
The lawyer said Navarro had shown up at the NBI to post bail over the acts of lasciviousness case when the 2nd arrest warrant was served.
"Kahapon, hindi kami binigyan ng copy nung resolusyon ng korte. Nandun ang aming abogado, ang warrant of arrest lumabas lampas 4 o clock na, mg 4:30 kami nakakuha nung warrant of arrest. By the way, actually hindi kami ang nakakuha ng warrant of arrest dahil ayaw kaming bigyan ng warrant of arrest. Ang nakakuha ng warrant of arrest ay yung NBI dahil nandun na siya para iproseso yung bail ni Vhong Navarro dun sa acts of lasciviousness.'
"Humingi kami ng resolusyon para makapagfile kami ng motion of reconsideration agad dun sa RTC. Hindi kami binigyan so ngayong umaga na ito, yun ang unang-una naming gagawin and definitely mag fa file kami ng MR at maliban pa doon ay mag fa-file kami ng petition for bail."
The lawyer again questioned the filing of the charges, saying there is no evidence that would prove that Navarro is guilty of rape.
"Alam mo, sa batas natin, meron sinasabi na preliminary investigation, kailangan pag nagsampa ka ng kaso, yung proseso is in effect a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Ibig sabihin noon ay hindi lang meron kaunting ebidensya pero iisipin mo din, pag ito'y nilitis mo, sigurado bang ma-a-acquit lamang ang akusado? Kung siguradong ma-a-acquit, wag mo nang isampa yung kaso dahil parang pinahirapan mo na lamang, parang pinaglaruan mo na lang dahil alam mo naman na walang ebidensya. Alam mo namang hindi siya ma co convict," she said.
"Ang malungkot na kwento dito ay hanggang ngayon, siya ay nakakulong.
Si Mr. Vhong Navarro ang biktima na naglakas loob na dapat gawin ng lahat na i-exercise yung kanyang rights, magsumbong dahil merong krimeng ginawa laban sa kanya."