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CA junks motion to quash by Vhong accuser Cedric Lee

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Comedian and television host Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro scored a legal point after the Court of Appeals (CA) denied a motion by businessman Cedric Lee to quash the serious illegal detention charge lodged against him by Navarro.

In a 12-page decision penned by Associate Justice Angelene Mary Quimpo-Sale, the CA’s Seventeenth Division affirmed the 2019 order issued by the Regional Trial Court of Taguig City denying Lee’s motion to dismiss Navarro’s complaint.

Lee filed a motion to dismiss the case after the trial court denied his demurrer to evidence in an order issued on May 27, 2019.

The trial court junked Lee’s appeal after e4stablishing that it was essentially a second demurrer to evidence which cannot be entertained and that the Rules of Court does not provide for a remedy of a motion to dismiss.

According to the appellate court, Lee failed to substantiate his claim that the trial court committed grave abuse of direction in denying his motion.

“Petitioner, in his motion to dismiss before the trial court also argued that even assuming the information is complete, the case must still be dismissed for failure of the prosecution to prove all the elements of the crime charged,” the CA ruled.

“This argument was already raised in his demurrer to evidence, therefore, the trial court correctly treated the motion to dismiss as a second demurrer to evidence,” the CA said.

Lee earlier claimed that he “performed a citizen’s arrest of the private complainant because the latter was caught committing in flagrante delicto the crime of attempted rape against [Deniece] Cornejo.” It can be recalled that Lee and six others, namely Deniece Cornejo, Bernice Cua Lee, Simeon Palma Raz, Jr., Jose Paolo Gregorio A. Calma, Sajed Fernandez Abuhijleh and Ferdinand Guerrero were charged with serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code by Navarro in connection with the January 22, 2014 incident  that took place inside Cornejo’s condominium in Bonifacio Global City where Navarro was accused by the latter of raping and committing acts of lasciviousness against her.

Navarro denied Cornejo’s accusations and claimed that he was illegally detained by Lee’s group by means of threat and intimidation with the use of firearms.

He said during his detention, Lee’s group mauled him and threatened to kill him if he would not pay P200,000 which was later increased to P2 million.

Navarro said he agreed to pay the amount of P1 million to secure his release.

On July 21, 2022, the CA’s Special14th Division issued a ruling directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to revive the rape case and acts of lasciviousness charges against Navarro.

The CA reversed and set aside the 2018 and 2020 resolutions of the DOJ dismissing the complaint filed by Cornejo in 2014.

As an offshoot of the CA’s ruling, the DOJ filed the criminal charges against Navarro before the trial courts in Taguig.

On September 19, 2022, Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 116 Presiding Judge Angela Francesa Din issued a resolution finding probable cause to put Navarro on trial for acts of lasciviousness and ordered the respondent to post a bail of P36,000 for his temporary release.

On the same day, Taguig RTC Branch 69 Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Dataha issued an arrest warrant against Navarro for the rape case which is a non-bailable offense.

Navarro is currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).


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