Deniece Cornejo asks Taguig court to reverse bail grant to Navarro, inhibit from rape case

[Manila Bulletin] Deniece Cornejo asks Taguig court to reverse bail grant to Navarro, inhibit from rape case

Model Deniece Cornejo wants “It’s Showtime” host and comedian Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro to be put in jail again.

She has asked a Taguig court to reverse its decision granting bail to Navarro and to inhibit from hearing the rape case she filed against him.

Cornejo, through his lawyer Howard Calleja, filed a motion for reconsideration with motion to inhibit on Dec. 19 with the Taguig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 69 under Judge Loralie Datahan.

Vhong Navarro last December (left) and Deniece Cornejo leaving the Taguig court after testifying against him in his bail hearing last November (Contributed photo, Jonathan Hicap)

Navarro is accused of raping Cornejo on Jan. 17, 2014 in her condominium unit in Taguig.

On Dec. 5, the Taguig RTC Branch 69 issued a decision and granted bail to Navarro in the amount of P1 million. He was released from the Taguig City Jail Male Dormitory on Dec. 6.

“Viewed in light of all the foregoing, and taking the evidence presented in the bail hearings as a whole, this Court is not convinced at this point, that there exists a presumption great leading to the inference of the accused’s guilt,” the Taguig court ruled.

In studying the evidence presented during Navarro’s five bail hearings held in October and November, the Taguig court noted that “after a thorough scrutiny of the documentary and testimonial evidence presented in this petition for bail, the Court finds that the prosecution fell short in establishing that the guilt of the accused [Navarro] is strong.”

In her motion for reconsideration, Cornejo said Navarro “failed to file the formal offer of evidence, as ordered by the Honorable Court, not just once but twice, or on 11 November and 18 November 2022 respectively.”

She added that the Taguig court “erred in finding that the inconsistencies in the private complainant’s affidavits and testimony are too material to ignore.”

“The private complainant [Cornejo] never said that she was not raped in the formal complaints filed. The third complaint clarified that the first two complaints filed stated intertwining facts that happened on the 17 January and 22 January 2014,” said Cornejo.

According to Cornejo’s appeal, “The private complainant never said that she was not raped. The private complainant was merely silent about it because she was scared and ashamed of the stigma of a rape victim, she was scared that her family will no Ionger be able to depend on her, she was also terrified at the thought of going against a giant such as Vhong Navarro.”

“Furthermore, she only had the attempted rape that happened on 22 January blottered because she wanted to consult with her family and she scared how they would take the news and how the effect will be to the public, knowing that she was raped by the Accused,” said Cornejo.

She added, “In the present case, the private complainant was victim shamed for being an alleged high class prostitute, a woman of lose morals or a woman who was merely lying. This was the social stigma she was scared of and which was attached to her.”

“She repeatedly stated the trauma she continues to experience in court and this was corroborated by the witnesses presented by the prosecution. Furthermore, the trauma the private complainant continues to experience hindered her from fully understanding and clearly communicating all the events immediately in the affidavits as they were also prepared by different lawyers and these affidavits were prepared for her at the height of the media attacks against her and when she was charged with a non-bailable Serious Illegal Detention case and was even incarcerated. This was very traumatic for a 22 yr old student at that time,” according to Cornejo’s motion for reconsideration.

Cornejo’s camp stated that the Taguig court also “erred in finding that the evidence presented failed to establish the material allegations in the information” including “that the private complainant was beaten up nor intoxicated to a point that will deprive her of her willpower.”

“Furthermore, the accused in this case has moral ascendancy over the victim, especially in the industry where both parties are involved, the accused being the more senior one in such line of work,” it added.

Cornejo’s camp stated that “despite all of these unrefuted, unrebutted and uncontroverted testimonies and evidence by the Complainant and her witnesses, and despite the multiple procedural violations committed by the accused, the accused was still granted bail.”

She asked the court to inhibit in hearing the rape case against Navarro.

“With all due respect, and given how this Honorable Court has disposed of the case despite the otherwise clear pronouncements in law and jurisprudence on the issues surrounding this case, the private complainant is of the clear notion that this Honorable Court is already biased and partial in the handling of the case that she feels justice will not be served,” said Cornejo.

“And with all due respect due to this Honorable Court, the private complainant prays of this Honorable Court to recuse and inhibit from further proceeding in hearing the above-captioned case and direct the immediate re-raffle of the case,” Cornejo requested.

Cornejo also asked the court to reverse the decision and issue a new warrant of arrest against Navarro.

She asked the court “to reverse and set aside the Order dated 05 December 2022” and “to issue a warrant of arrest against the accused Ferdinand Navarro.”

Navarro’s camp said they will oppose the motion for reconsideration filed by Cornejo.

“The defense will definitely file its opposition to that,” said lawyer Mariglen Abraham-Garduque, who served as collaborating counsel for Navarro during the bail hearings.

She added, “But at the onset, I just want to state that the court properly exercised its discretion in granting the petition for bail. All the requirements in the petition for bail was complied with, there was summary of all the evidence of the prosecution and there were hearings being conducted in the presence of the prosecutors.”

“Based on the summary of evidence presented by the prosecution, which is the evidence under evaluation in a petition for bail, the court found that the said evidence is not strong to prove the guilt of the accused. Hence, the petition for bail was granted,” she said.

Navarro’s rape trial will start on Feb. 16 at the Taguig RTC Branch 69.