Vhong Navarro’s ‘victim’ and ‘attacker’ speak up

Rappler.com
Deniece Cornejo and Cedric Lee, named by Vhong Navarro as part of a setup to extort money from him, come out to refute the actor's claims

SPEAKING UP. Deniece Cornejo and Cedric Lee are asserting that Vhong Navarro did attempt to rape Cornejo. Screengrab from ABS-CBN interview

MANILA, Philippines – A day after actor Vhong Navarro named her as the woman who made up a rape attempt story so her group could extort from him, Deniece Cornejo is airing her side.

Short quotes from Cornejo, tweeted by GMA-7’s Kara David on Monday, January 27, indicated that Cornejo is standing by her claim that Navarro attempted to rape her inside her condominium unit at The Fort in Taguig City.

Hindi ko kailangang umiyak para maawa sa akin ang mga taoAko ang biktimaAko ang inosente sa isyung ito, wala nang iba,” she was quoted as saying. (I don’t need to cry for people to sympathize with me. I’m the victim. In this issue, I’m the one who is innocent, nobody else.)

Although initial reports aired on 24 Oras Weekend based on the Taguig police blotter did not name Cornejo due to the sensitive nature of the incident, Navarro named her as the complainant during his interview with Boy Abunda on ABS-CBN’s Buzz ng Bayan on Sunday. (READ: Police blotter says Vhong Navarro tried to rape girl)

Navarro also named Cedric Lee and a certain “Mike” who belonged to Cornejo’s group. He said that a group of men beat him up and forced him to admit to trying to rape a friend.

In his interview, Navarro said that he previously saw Deniece at her apartment on January 17, and of this he said, May nangyari po pero walang sexual intercourse.” (Things happened but there was no sexual intercourse.) The attack happened on his second visit on January 22.

He said he was brought to the police station to sign the blotter, and that he was asked to deposit P1 million in a bank account in order to ensure that word of the incident would not get out. 

Lee’s version

The events narrated by Navarro were very different from the assertions of Cornejo and businessman Cedric Lee. 

Lee told ABS-CBN in an interview reported on January 27 that he, along with his sister and a friend, went to pick up Cornejo in her condominium in The Fort for a night out with friends. He said that upon reaching Cornejo’s door, they heard screaming. Finding that the door was unlocked, they entered the unit and proceeded to the bedroom where they found a man on top of Cornejo.

Nakita ko dun ang isang lalaking nakahubad na, nakababa na yung shorts niya, nakapatong kay Deniece at si Deniece ay nagsisisigaw na, nagpapapadyak sa lalaki,” he said. (“I saw an undressed man, his shorts pulled down, on top of Deniece. Deniece was crying and kicking the man.”)

Lee said his instincts kicked in and he proceeded to grab him from the back and pulled him off the bed. Cornejo then ran to Lee’s sister, who brought her out of the condo unit. Lee, his friend, and Navarro were left in the unit. According to the businessman, he did not recognize the man to be Navarro until later on.

Lee and his friend attempted to arrest Navarro, but the actor resisted and started throwing punches. The two men were then prompted to fight back, which caused the injuries to Vhong. 

Lee said they used duct tape to bind Navarro while they called the police.

According to Lee, Navarro admitted to attempting to rape Cornejo, later on asking forgiveness and requesting for them to not turn him over to the authorities.

Tinanong namin siya kung ano ‘yung ginagawa niya. Inamin naman niya sa amin, humihingi siya ng paumanhin…pinagtangkaan niyang gahasain si Deniece. Humihingi siya ng paumanhin at ‘wag daw siya sanang i-turn over sa pulis dahil baka makasira sa career niya at hindi raw niya alam paano ipapaliwanag sa mga anak niya.

(We asked him what he did. He admitted it, and apologized for attempting to rape Deniece. He asked not to be turned over to the police because this could ruin his career, and because he didn’t know how to explain it to his children.)

Upon filing the complaint at the station, Lee said Navarro signed voluntarily in front of the police. Lee also explained that they asked Navarro for monetary compensation for the damage on Cornejo’s property, caused by their brawl.

Lee said the authorities were convincing Cornejo to file a case, but Navarro cried and begged her to not push through with it. But after Navarro’s statement on Buzz ng Bayan, Cornejo and Lee’s party said they are planning to pursue the attempted rape case, coupled with a libel case.

Navarro’s lawyer: ‘Do it’

Navarro’s legal cousel Alma Mallonga said in an interview with TV Patrol on Monday that her client is prepared to face the charges.

“Do it. Just do it. Because we’re also prepared to stand by the truth. We have the records. Gawin na nila ‘yung gusto nilang gawin. Mabuti siguro na magkaalaman na.” (Let them do what they say they’d do. It’s better that way, so it will be revealed who’s telling the truth.)

She claimed that it is easy to make allegations, but it will all be dependent on the evidence. According to the lawyer, they have the medico legal report, CCTV footage, and text messages to back up their version of the story. – Rappler.com