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Vhong's lawyer 'shocked and dismayed' over bail grant

Camille Diola - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of television host Vhong Navarro was "shocked and dismayed" over the Taguig City Regional Trial Court's (RTC) decision granting bail to accused Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo and Zimmer Raz.

Lawyer Alma Mallonga said she has not received a copy of the ruling released on Monday, but she believes it poses a challenge to prosecutors to further rationalize the case in connection with the mauling of Navarro last January.

"I'm very surprised, if not shocked and dismayed mainly because I know what the case is all about, I know what our legal and factual premises are and I know the evidence," Mallonga said in an interview with ANC on Monday.

"I have to be very frank. This is, of course, not a good development for the prosecution," she added.

Mallonga also alluded to claims of Cornejo's camp that "no serious illegal detention" occurred when she, Lee, Raz and others allegedly attacked Navarro in a condominium unit.

Taguig RTC Branch 271 presiding judge Paz Esperanza Cortes said in the decision granting a bail of P500,000 for the accused that the prosecution failed to provide "strong evidence" that the detention of Navarro was indeed "serious."

Mallonga, however, does not doubt that her client was illegally detained and that the accused committed a serious crime.

"Illegal detention is [when a] private complainant must have been detained even if it's less than four days and the detention must be illegal. All those elements are [t]here. We saw for a fact that [Vhong's] hands and feet were tied," the lawyer said.

"There is no doubt that when all these things were done to him, a gun was pointed to his head ... None of the accused testified to rebut that. How can they say there is no serious illegal detention in this case?" Mallonga added.

Despite the recent blow at Navarro and his lawyers, Mallonga said they are "determined now more than ever to pursue the ends of justice."

CEDRIC LEE CITY REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DENIECE CORNEJO AND ZIMMER RAZ LAWYER ALMA MALLONGA MALLONGA NAVARRO PAZ ESPERANZA CORTES RAZ TAGUIG VHONG NAVARRO
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