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Monday, July 22, 2024

Vhong Navarro wins serious illegal detention case vs Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo

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Businessman Cedric Lee and former model Deniece Cornejo were found guilty in the serious illegal detention case filed by television and comedian Ferdinand ‘Vhong‘ Navarro.

The Taguig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 153 sentenced Lee, Cornejo, and two other respondents—Ferdinand Guerrero and Simeon Raz—to reclusion perpetua  (perpetual imprisonment).

They were also ordered to pay Navarro P100,000 in civil indemnity, P100,000 in moral damages, and P100,000 in exemplary damages. The court likewise canceled the bail bond of the accused.

The court immediately committed Raz and Cornejo, who attended the promulgation, and issued a warrant of arrest against Lee and Guerrero.

“All monetary awards shall earn a legal interest rate of six percent per annum from the finality of the judgment until fully paid,” the court stated.

Navarro’s legal counsel Alma Mallonga said he did not attend the hearing, but her client welcomed the decision.

Late last year, the Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Lee to reconsider its 2022 decision affirming a trial court’s ruling that denied the dismissal of the serious illegal detention for ransom lawsuit.

In July 2018, a separate court in Taguig also found Lee, Cornejo, and co-accused Jed Fernandez guilty of grave coercion. They were sentenced to “suffer the indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor as minimum, to three years and six months of prision correccional medium as maximum.”

Lee’s sister Bernice was acquitted for lack of evidence in the case of grave coercion.

Both cases (grave coercion and serious illegal detention) stemmed from the January 22, 2014 mauling of Navarro inside Forbeswood Heights Condominium in Taguig City, where Cornejo stayed.

Navarro claimed that the respondents mauled and tried to extort up to P2 million from him while he was inside Cornejo’s unit.

Video footage showed Navarro in a bull cap leaving the building, with his hands tied behind his back, along with eight people including Lee and Cornejo around 11 p.m.

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