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CA affirms bail for 3 in Vhong illegal detention case

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the bail granted to three accused in the serious illegal detention case filed by host-comedian Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro.

In a 15-page decision released yesterday, the CA’s Ninth Division dismissed for lack of merit Navarro’s petition questioning the bail granted by the Taguig regional trial court (RTC) to model Deniece Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee and martial arts expert Simon “Zimmer” Raz.

The CA instead affirmed the ruling of RTC Judge Esperanza Paz Cortes in September 2014 allowing the temporary release of the three accused in the case after posting P500,000 bail each.

It agreed with the lower court’s finding that “the evidence of guilt of the prosecution was not strong.”

“While Navarro had indeed been detained, there is a possibility that said detention might be legal in view of citizen’s arrest and not for the purpose of kidnapping. Clearly, the evidence of guilt presented by the prosecution failed to exclude all reasonable probability of any other conclusion; hence the RTC is justified in granting the application for bail,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Renato Francisco.

Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Manuel Barrios concurred in the ruling.

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Navarro filed the case against the three after Lee and Raz allegedly beat him up on Jan. 22, 2014 in a condominium unit in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig after he was caught allegedly trying to rape Cornejo.

Last month, the Department of Justice dismissed with finality the rape complaint filed by Cornejo against Navarro.       

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