Cornejo’s plea for protection order vs Navarro junked

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Friday, February 14, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 69 junked on Friday for lack of merit model Deniece Cornejo's petition for a temporary protection order (TPO) against actor/television host Vhong Navarro.

Navarro’s lead counsel Alma Mallonga said Judge Lorifel Pahimna ruled that the petition, which seeks to order Navarro not to go near Cornejo, failed to show any relationship between the actor and the model that would fall under the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act (Republic Act 9262).

“The law requires a dating relationship or a sexual relationship between the parties. Per the petition, other than the alleged rape, there was no relationship between Vhong and Deniece. It’s a legal argument that favored Vhong,” she said in a text message to Sun.Star.

Cornejo earlier filed rape charges against Navarro, claiming the actor attempted to rape her on the evening of January 22.

But Navarro had repeatedly denied raping Cornejo at her condominium unit in Forbeswood Heights in Taguig City, and instead said that a group of men, led by businessman Cedric Lee, attacked him, and he was even asked to pay as much as P2 million to cover the supposed damage to Cornejo’s unit.

The actor then lodged charges of serious illegal detention, serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, illegal arrest and blackmail against Cornejo, Lee and his sister Bernice, Simeon “Zimmer” Raz, Jed “Mike” Fernandez and JP Calma.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) held Friday a preliminary investigation on the criminal charges filed by Navarro against Cornejo and Lee’s group, but the latter’s camp failed to appear.

Lawyer Arleo Magtibay, who represented Cornejo and the Lee siblings, said his clients chose to show up in the RTC hearing for the model’s request for a TPO.

But with the dismissal of Cornejo’s petition, Mallonga said the model and the Lee siblings have no further excuse to snub the proceedings at the DOJ, which will resume on February 21.

“The petition was a dilatory tactic,” said Mallonga.

The all-women panel of prosecutors who handled the preliminary investigation on Friday also directed Raz, Fernandez and Calma to appear at the next hearing.

Also expected to attend are the police officers from the Southern Police District (SPD) who recorded the incident and security guards at Forbeswood Heights.

The same panel is looking into the complaint filed by the Taguig police against the Megaforce Security Agency, which secures Forbeswood, for obstruction of justice and violation of the Private Security Agency Law.

According to the police, the security agency must answer for its failure to report the incident, non-cooperation in the police investigation, hiding vital papers/evidence/records and non-disclosure or giving false or incomplete information. (Sunnex)

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