NBI files charges vs Navarro’s attackers

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MANILA -- Several charges were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday against those who attacked actor and television host Vhong Navarro at a condominium unit in Taguig City last January 22.

Facing complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) were businessman Cedric Lee and his sister Bernice, Deniece Cornejo, a certain Ferdinand Guerrero, Zimmer Rance, an alias Mike and two John Does.

The NBI charged them with serious illegal detention, serious physical injuries, grave threats, grave coercion, unlawful arrest and threatening to publish and offer to prevent such publication for compensation.

Serious illegal detention is a non-bailable offense and punishable by life imprisonment.

The NBI leaned on statements of Navarro's driver Rommel dela Cruz, Forbeswood Heights security guard Lero Garvin, closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage at the time of the incident and medico-legal report, among others.

Lee said he and friends beat up Navarro after noting that the actor attempted to rape Cornejo. The actor denied the allegation as he accused Lee of forcing him to sign a police blotter that he tried to sexually abuse Cornejo.

The businessman also allegedly asked P1 million from Navarro so that his videotaped confession about the incident will not be made public.

"It's not true that Cedric just happened to go there and discovered it (alleged attempted rape). It (CCTV) will show, beyond a shadow of the doubt, that it was a set up. Pinapunta si Vhong dahil may masamang balak sa kanya at ang balak na iyon ay to effect an illegal arrest at idala sya doon (police station) at magkunwari na mayroon siyang ginawa," Navarro's legal counsel Alma Mallonga told reporters.

She expressed confidence that the real perpetrators will be punished, saying they have a strong case.

"Truth is liberating. Truth is the best weapon," said Mallonga.

Lee and Cornejo snubbed the NBI's invitation to explain their side. The two earlier said they will file libel and attempted rape cases against the ABS-CBN talent. (Sunnex)

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