MANILA, Philippines – A Taguig court has granted the bail petition of host-comedian Vhong Navarro, allowing him to pay P1 million pesos for his temporary liberty in connection with the rape case filed by model Deniece Cornejo.
Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan of the Taguig Regional Trial Court branch 69 penned the order on Monday, December 5, citing the credibility of the complainant as “the single most important issue in the prosecution of rape cases” and that the evidence presented by the prosecution in the bail hearings are too weak to warrant Navarro’s continued detention pending the trial of his case.
The judge also emphasized that there are “notable inconsistencies in the testimony of the private complainant” and that they could not be “simply brushed aside.”
“Viewed in light of all the foregoing, and taking the evidence presented in the bail hearings as a whole, this Court is not convinced at this point, that there exists a presumption great leading to the inference of the accused’s guilt,” Judge Datahan said.
The ruling also mentioned how Cornejo claimed she was drugged, but later testified that she was not certain about it, and how she confirmed that Navarro had no weapon, and did not threaten or intimidate her.
“It must be emphasized, however, that a grant of bail does not prevent the Court, as trier of facts, from making a final assessment of the evidence after full trial on the merits,” it added.
Navarro surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on September 20 after a Taguig court ordered his arrest. In November, he was transferred to the Taguig City Jail from the National Bureau of Investigation facility.
It was in July when 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.
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 extortion 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.
Aside from the rape case, Navarro is also facing acts of lasciviousness case before the Taguig metropolitan trial court also filed by Cornejo. – Rappler.com