MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - The Department of Justice has dismissed the rape and attempted rape complaints filed by model-actress Deniece Cornejo against actor-host Vhong Navarro.
Cornejo had accused Navarro of raping her on January 17 and January 22, the night of a controversial mauling incident that left the "It's Showtime" host seriously injured.
In a review resolution dated 6 September 2017, the DOJ reversed its original recommendation to indict Navarro on the said offenses and held that both Cornejo and her stories were not credible.
The evidence presented by Cornejo's camp did not establish probable cause to indict Navarro for the crime he was accused of committing, said the DOJ.
The department said it scrutinized the records of the case, but "such thorough scrutiny has failed to make us engender a well-founded belief that the rape and attempted rape described by complainant actually happened."
The DOJ conducted 3 investigations in connection with the case, but the charges against Navarro were dismissed in the first two investigations and Cornejo was indicted for perjury in the third.
In its review resolution, the DOJ said Cornejo “suffers from a very serious credibility issue,” as the department pointed out “major inconsistencies” in her three complaint-affidavits against Navarro.
“[Cornejo’s] story about the incident on January 17, 2014 changed from no rape (or anything amorous for that matter) happening (first complaint-affdavit), to rape being committed by force (second complaint affidavit), and finally to rape being committed rendering her dizzy and weak due to a date rape drug-laced wine (third complaint-affidavit)."
“On the other hand, complainant’s story about the incident on January 22, 2014 started from rape being committed by force (first complaint-affidavit), to absolutely having no mention about any incident (second complaint-affidavit), until the events morphed into a mere attempt to rape her (second complaint-affidavit),” the resolution read.
The DOJ also stressed Cornejo’s first complaint-affidavit contained less details than her second complaint-affidavit while “[c]ommon human experience dictates that a narration given close to the incident usually contains more details than one that is given later.”
“This is because in the former, the events or details are still fresh in the narrator’s mind, while the passage of time will make a person forget details,” the resolution read.
The resolution also mentioned the CCTV footage obtained from Cornejo’s condominium which showed her entering the elevator on the night of January 22, 2014 “only a minute” after Navarro stepped out of the elevator to proceed to her unit.
“In that time span, [Cornejo] claims that respondent was able to push her towards the living area of the condominium unit and pressed his entire weight against her, before her friends arrived and immediately restrained [Navarro].
“But then again… [i]n her first complaint-affidavit, [Cornejo] alleges that [Navarro] succeeded in violating her by pulling her hair and dragging her to the sofa, chasing her to the bedroom and pinning her down on the bed, and thereafter lifted one leg of her short pants and forced his hard penis into her vagina,” the resolution stated.
The DOJ also noted that another CCTV footage, recorded after Cornejo and her friends brought Navarro to a police station, showed “[C]ornejo’s actuations after the supposed rape incident… are inconsistent with the actuations and demeanor of a person who has just been violated.”
“Also, how come Cedric Lee was kissing complainant in the elevator after they had brought respondent to the police station?” the resolution pointed out.
Lee is among Cornejo’s friends who had been indicted for mauling Navarro on January 22, 2014.