Noontime television host and comedian Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro gave himself up to the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday after a court in Taguig City issued a warrant of arrest in connection with the acts of lasciviousness case filed against him by model Deniece Cornejo.
The Taguig City Metropolitan Court Branch 116, which recommended a P36,000 bail for the actor’s temporary liberty, stated that it finds probable cause for the trial of the case.
The case is separate from Navarro’s rape case also filed by Cornejo, which stemmed from the incident happened at the Bonifacio Global City in January 2014. The model claimed that the actor raped her in her condominium unit.
In an interview with radio station DZBB, Navarro’s legal counsel Alma Mallonga expressed confidence that her client will be released as soon as possible.
“I don’t think there will be a problem because we have completed all the prerequisites. We are going to comply with it within the day. We are confident that Mr. Navarro will be granted bail,” she said.
Both cases were filed after the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Cornejo, which reversed the earlier decision made by the Department of Justice, dismissing all her complaints filed against Navarro due to inconsistent statements.
Mallonga said the case was related to an incident happened on January 22, 2014, when Navarro was ganged up by a group, including Cornejo and businessman Cedric Lee.
“This is the basis why there are serious illegal detention and grave coercion charges against Ms. Cornejo and Mr. Cedric Lee and others. He (Vhong) is the victim. When he filed the case, Cornejo suddenly said that he had been raped. This is not true,” she said.
Navarro had a statement, saying he was alarmed that the rape case resurfaced.
“Ever since this started, I told the truth. I did not lie. I was consistent in our affidavits. I told everything there. I repeatedly said that my mistake was cheating on my then girlfriend,” he said.
In 2018, a Taguig City court judge found Lee, Cornejo, and co-accused Jed Fernandez guilty of grave coercion, a case filed against them by the DoJ in connection with the mauling of Navarro.
In a 50-page decision, Judge Bernard Pineda Bernal of Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 74 sentenced the accused to “suffer the indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor as minimum,
to three years and six months of prison correccional medium as maximum.”
Lee’s sister Bernice was acquitted for lack of evidence.
In a sworn statement, Navarro claimed that after being mauled and detained at a condominium unit, the group forced him to sign a police blotter admitting he tried to sexually assault Cornejo.
Apart from grave coercion, Navarro had also filed a separate case of serious illegal detention against the three and two others – Ferdinand Guerrero and Simeon Raz Jr.
In September 2014, Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes of Taguig Regional Trial Court branch 271 decided to inhibit from handling the case after granting the bail petition of Cornejo, Lee and Raz in the serious illegal detention case.
The court granted the petition for bail of the accused after the prosecution panel “failed to provide strong evidence that said illegal detention is actually serious or actually for the sake of kidnapping.”