Cornejo: Rape can happen in a minute, cites SC ruling

Deniece Cornejo maintains she was raped by Vhong Navarro

RAPED? Deniece maintains she was raped by Vhong Navarro. Photo by Jose Del/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Model-stylist Deniece Cornejo and 3 others implicated in the mauling of TV show host and comedian Vhong Navarro maintains that she was raped, with their legal counsel citing court rulings that show rape may be consummated within one minute.

On Tuesday, February 21, during the second day of preliminary investigation (PI) on the cases related to the mauling incident, Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee, Bernice “Marie” Lee, Zimmer Raz (Zimmer Rance in the NBI’s complaint before the Department of Justice) appeared before a DOJ investigating panel.

Three other suspects in the beating of Navarro were a no-show.

Cornejo cited in her counter-affidavit previous cases wherein rape “lasted for about one minute.” 

Howard Calleja, legal counsel for Cornejo, said these cases include:

  • People v. Ocampo (G.R. No. 171731, August 11, 2006)
“The sexual assault by Magallones lasted for about one minute after which he went home”

  • People v. Alay-ay (G.R. No. 137199-230, August 23, 2001) 
“He removed the buttons of her shorts, inserted his fingers in her private part and mashed her private part, which took place about one minute while she was standing.”

Cornejo’s camp has been battling public criticism after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) released footages of the condominium where the mauling took place. The footages show rape couldn’t have occurred given the time span that Cornejo and Navarro were together, said the NBI. (READ: NBI on Vhong Navarro: CCTV footages belies rape charges)

Navarro alleged that he was blindfolded, beaten up, and made to confess to a rape that he did not commit. The NBI has charged the group of Cornejo and Lee with serious illegal detention, serious physical injuries, grave threats, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, and threatening to publish and offer to prevent such publication for a compensation.

Cornejo said her friends came to her defense as she was being sexually assaulted by Navarro. Thus their decision to bring him to a police station.

The counter-affidavits filed by Cornejo’s camp Friday cite Rule 113, Section 5 of the Rules of Court, which pertains to a citizen’s arrest. 

Section 5 states that a private person may arrest a person without a warrant given two conditions: 

  • when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually commiting, or is attempting to commit an offense
  • when an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe the person to be arrested has committed it

Delaying tactics

Alma Mallonga, counsel for Navarro, observed during the probe what seemed to be delaying tactics from Cornejo’s camp but said she’s “happy” that it pushed through.

“Fortunately, the tactics did not work,” she said. “So the PI pushed through. The proceedings are terminated as far as the 4 suspects are concerned… We are hoping for a good result. Nabasa namin ng mabilisan yung (We quickly went through their) counter-affidavit. They are maintaining that there is a rape.”

Mallonga noted that Cornejo’s camp was treating the probe like it was already a trial when the goal of the panel is merely to determine probable cause for a possible court case.

The DOJ panel that presided over the preliminary probe is composed of Assistant Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, Assistant Prosecutor Hazel C. Decena-Valdez, and Assistant Prosecutor Marie Elvira B Herrera.

The all-female panel took over the investigation of 3 cases related to Navarro’s mauling–

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