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Vhong Navarro can't face his attackers yet – lawyer

February 6, 2014 8:09pm

There may not be a Valentine's Day “face off” between Vhong Navarro and his attackers.

This was after Navarro's lawyers asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to allow him to skip the February 14 preliminary investigation on the case he filed against Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, and several others.

In an interview with reporters, Navarro's legal counsel Alma Mallonga said her client, who was hospitalized after the Jan. 22 mauling incident, is so “emotionally and physically damaged” that he could not face his attackers just yet.

“He may be physically recovered, but part of the damage that was done to him was psychological [and] emotional, and even today may threats pa rin sa kanya,” Mallonga said, adding Navarro's presence in the preliminary investigation is “not necessary.”

The DOJ panel granted Navarro's request, but ordered him to appear on the next preliminary investigation set on Feb. 21.

“Siguro sa mga susunod po, we might not be inclined to grant similar requests kasi we might be accused din of favoring a complainant," DOJ panel member told Navarro.

Swarmed by the media and DOJ employees, Navarro arrived at the DOJ grounds around 2 p.m. to swear on the affidavits he submitted in connection with the mauling incident. He did not talk about the case when he spoke to the media, but thanked those who supported him in his ordeal.

“Sa lahat po ng nagdadasal sa akin, sobrang maraming maraming. Salamat sa inyong lahat at sa mga kaibigan ko na nandiyan pa, basta ayon po nararamdamn ko... na lahat ng sumusuporta, kayo po ang nagpapalakas ng loob ko para harapin lahat ito,” he said.

During his visit to the DOJ, Navarro also received the rape complaint filed against him but his camp refused to comment on it.

“We have already yung complaint namin ng serious illegal detention. I don't think we even need to respond to this (rape complaint)," said Mallonga in an interview aired on "24 Oras."


Navarro, bespectacled and still having bruises under his eyes, stepped out of his hospital room to personally swear to the truthfulness of his three affidavits at the DOJ headquarters in Manila.

The three affidavits, dated January 23, January 30 and February 4, contained his side of the story on the mauling inside Forbeswood Condominium in Taguig. He claimed he was a victim of extortion by a group led by Lee and Cornejo.

Lee's camp had insisted they beat up Navarro after catching him trying to rape Cornejo inside the condominium unit where she was staying.

Navarro's affidavits would be used in the criminal complaints he filed against Lee, Cornejo and several others for illegal detention, serious physical injuries, grave threats, grave coercion, and illegal arrest, among others.

Mallonga said their camp had specifically asked the DOJ panel if Navarro can subscribe to his affidavits now and no longer during the preliminary investigation. Apart from considering his well-being, Mallonga said they can no longer wait for another week to submit the affidavits.

To support his claim of threats from Lee's camp, Navarro, in his latest supplemental affidavit dated February 14, included the contents of text messages that Lee allegedly sent while he was recuperating in hospital and a day after the mauling.

Serious illegal detention and rape are both non-bailable offenses.

Text messages

In the text messages, Lee was demanding from Navarro payment for the furniture damaged during the mauling and for the trauma the incident had supposedly caused Cornejo.

“Hoy rapist!... pag di mo binayaran si deniece dun sa mga nawasak na furniture today and for the moral damages and trauma u have caused her, she will file attempted rape charges against u. And w regards to us, alam mo na kalalagyan mo. Kahit ipabasa mo pa tong text kahit kanino," read Lee's supposed text message to Navarro dated January 24 at 12:39 p.m.

Navarro also identified the people seen in screen grabs from a closed-circuit television camera footage taken in the condominium's elevator.

“Ito ay para ipa-confirm na ito nga ang mga taong naaalala niyang gumawa ng krimen sa kanya at sa abot ng kanyang makakaya kung kilala niya ang mga tao, in-identify rin niya," said Mallonga. — with Elizabeth Marcelo/KBK, GMA News
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