Lee, pal to be arraigned Wednesday

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

MANILA - Detained businessman Cedric Lee and his friend Zimmer Raz, who were accused of beating up actor Vhong Navarro last January, will face a Taguig judge on Wednesday to enter their plea on the serious illegal detention case filed against them.

The arraignment was set at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes of the Taguig Regional Trial Court branch 271 stated in a commitment order issued on Monday.

But Cortes deferred the transfer of Lee and Raz to the Taguig City Jail as she has yet to resolve the motion for the accused’s continued detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila, which cited security concerns.

The judge will hear the motion on May 6.

"Even if we do not arrest the other accused, we can proceed. Vhong is very much willing already, he wants to testify and make his testimony of record," said Navarro’s lawyer Alma Mallonga, who evaluated the case with prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday.

Lee and Raz were arrested in Oras, Eastern Samar last Saturday and were brought to the NBI the following day.

Still in hiding are Ferdinand Guerrero, Jed Fernandez and model-stylist Deniece Cornejo, whose alleged rape at a condominium unit triggered Navarro's mauling by Lee and company.

Lee's sister Bernice and Jose Paolo Calma are also charged with serious illegal detention but the court has not yet issued a warrant for their arrest. The businessman’s group has a separate case of grave coercion at the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court branch 74. (Sunnex)

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