Filipino actors

CA directs DOJ to file rape case against Vhong Navarro, DOJ abides

Rappler.com
CA directs DOJ to file rape case against Vhong Navarro, DOJ abides
(1st UPDATE) 'As always, we have always believed in the justice system, and we continue to stand staunchly behind Ms. Cornejo' says Cornejo's former lawyer Ferdinand Topacio
CA directs DOJ to file rape case against Vhong Navarro, DOJ abides

MANILA, Philippines – TV host and actor Vhong Navarro’s legal battle with model Deniece Cornejo is not yet over.

In a decision dated July 21, 2022, the Court of Appeals’ (CA) 14th Division reversed and set aside the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) previous resolutions from 2018 and 2020, which dismissed Cornejo’s 2014 complaint accusing Navarro of attempted rape. The CA thus directed the City Prosecutor of Taguig City to file rape by sexual intercourse and acts of lasciviousness charges against the actor.

“Cornejo decries attempted rape on the night of January 22, 2014 while Navarro denies any wrongdoing. We reiterate once more that the preliminary investigation is not the proper venue on the respondent’s guilt or innocence,” the CA said.    

“Cornejo’s claim that she initially managed to escape Navarro’s unwanted advances, but he caught up with her to further his perverse objective satisfies the element of force and intimidation,” the CA added, stressing that such cases in which credibility between the accuser and the accused is weighed should happen during a proper court trial.

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On January 22, 2014, Cornejo filed a case against the actor for alleged sexual assault, the night of a controversial incident which left Navarro severely injured.

According to Navarro, he was attacked and was a victim of extorion by Cornejo, Cedric Lee, and their other companions. Meanwhile, Cornejo’s camp said he sustained his injuries after Lee and company caught him attempting to rape Cornejo.

The DOJ said on August 2 that it would abide by the CA order, with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla saying: “We will obey the courts.”

Cornejo’s former lawyer Ferdinand Topacio of the Citizens’ Crime Watch (CCW) welcomed the CA’s decision and said that CCW will support her through the legal process. 

“We in the CCW have never wavered in our belief that Ms. Cornejo was the innocent party, and that she was a victim two times over: first, of sexual assault, and later by trial by publicity wherein she was painted as the culprit, and Mr. Navarro as the innocent victim. Mercifully, after all these years, such doublespeak was proven untrue, and Ms. Cornejo now stands vindicated,”  Topacio said in a statement.     

“As always, we have always believed in the justice system, and we continue to stand staunchly behind Ms. Cornejo in her long, painful journey to seek the truth and expose the lies against her for all to see,” he added.     

Navarro’s camp is expected to file a motion for reconsideration of the CA’s decision.  – Rappler.com

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