crimes in the Philippines

Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee convicted of serious illegal detention in Vhong Navarro case

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Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee convicted of serious illegal detention in Vhong Navarro case


(4th UPDATE) Ferdinand Guerrero is the last of the four convicted individuals to be taken into custody

MANILA, Philippines – The Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Thursday, May 2, convicted businessman Cedric Lee, model Deniece Cornejo, and two others of serious illegal detention for ransom in the case filed by actor-comedian Vhong Navarro. 

Lee, Cornejo, Ferdinand Guerrero, and Simeon Palma Raz were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt and were sentenced by the court to reclusion perpetua. Their bail bond was canceled.

They can still file appeal the court decision.

ABS-CBN News reported that according to Navarro’s lawyer, Alma Mallonga, Cornejo, who was present during the promulgation, was immediately committed by the court. The court has also issued a warrant of arrest for Lee. 

In 2014, Navarro accused the camp of Lee of serious illegal detention, saying the group detained him in Cornejo’s Bonifacio Global City condominium unit on January 22, 2014, by threatening him and intimidating him with firearms. Cornejo had accused Navarro of raping her. 

While Navarro was detained, Lee allegedly physically hurt the actor and threatened to kill him if he did not pay them P2 million. Navarro agreed to pay half the amount for his release. Lee would later claim that the detention was his attempt at a “citizen’s arrest” given the alleged sexual assault on Cornejo.

Lee and Raz were arrested on April 26, 2014, in Eastern Samar. They were released on September 18, 2014, after the court allowed them to post a bail of P500,000 each.

In 2017, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of RTC to grant bail to Lee, Raz, and Cornejo. 

In 2022, CA denied Lee’s motion to dismiss the case filed by Navarro. 

In 2023, the Supreme Court 3rd Division dismissed the rape and acts of lasciviousness charges filed against Navarro by Cornejo.

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TIMELINE: Vhong Navarro’s rape and acts of lasciviousness cases

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Hours after the ruling, Navarro, a mainstay host of It’s Showtime, thanked his family, friends, workmmates, and fans who had become his support system throughout his ordeal.

Roller coaster ang pinagdaanan ko. Sobrang hirap i-explain,” he said. (What I went through was like a roller coaster. It’s difficult to explain.)

Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee convicted of serious illegal detention in Vhong Navarro case

Navarro first thanked God, saying that he put his faith in the center during those trying times. He also thanked his legal team and the court.

The actor-host was also grateful for ABS-CBN, and even enumerated the names of several executives, and  his It’s Showtime colleagues who, he said, have been supportive of him “since day one.”

“Sa mga naniniwala sa akin, sa mga fans na kung ano mang mga naririinig ‘nyo na hindi maganda sa akin ay patuloy kayo na ‘andyan, sumusuporta at naniniwala,” he added. (To those who believed in me, to my fans, who continued to support and trust me even when they kept hearing bad things about me).

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. confirmed on Friday, May 3, that Raz was already at the Reception and Diagnostic Center of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Meanwhile, Cornejo was admitted to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City.

Catapang also said that the BuCor has yet to receive Lee’s commitment order. The businessman surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday night, May 2.

Weeks after Cornejo and Raz were taken into custody, Guerrero was turned over to BuCor by the National Bureau of Investigation on May 17, after he surrendered on the evening of May 16.

Guerrero was accompanied his legal team, headed by lawyer Alex Avisado. –

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