MANILA, Philippines – Five policemen involved in the controversy involving comedian Vhong Navarro, model Deniece Cornejo, and businessman Cedric Lee were temporary relieved from their posts, the Southern Police District (SPD) announced Tuesday, February 4.
On January 22, Navarro was mauled by several men in what he described as a case of extortion. Cornejo and Lee, however, insist Navarro tried to rape Cornejo in her condominium in The Fort. Proof of rape, the two say, is a police blotter filed before the SPD.
The blotter details how Navarro allegedly tried to rape Cornejo before Lee and several other men came to her rescue. Navarro said the rape allegations are not true, and that the blotter was filed as a means of blackmail.
The following were “relieved administratively,” according to SPD head Chief Superintendent Jet Villacorte:
- Superintendent Nelson Bautista
- PO3 Dalmacio Lumiwan
- Senior Inspector Eduardo Alcantara
- PO3 Rolly Laurento
- PO3 Eugene Pugal
All 5, who were on duty when Cornejo filed the blotter, will be under the custody of the SPD Personnel Holding Unit. In a text message to Rappler, Villacorte said the 5 “were relieved administratively pending the outcome of the invesitgation being conducted by the IAS (Internal Affairs Service) of the PNP.”
Villacorte clarified that being relieved during an investigation “is a matter of procedure.” He explained: “So as not to influence or affect the conduct of the investigation.”
Last week, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, whose jurisdiction includes the PNP, said that they would check if SPD officers committed lapses in handling the case. Roxas and the PNP also approved the Navarro’s camp request to “increase police visibility” in his residence over concerns for his safety.
Both Navarro and Cornejo have complaints or cases filed against them in connection with the January 22 incident. The National Bureau of Investigation filed a complaint against Cornejo, Lee, and several others for the mauling. Cornejo, meanwile, filed a rape charge against Navarro before a Taguig court. – Rappler.com