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Judge denies Vhong’s bid to stay in NBI

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Judge denies Vhongâs bid to stay in NBI
TV host Vhong Navarro surrenders to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Quezon City on Monday (September 19, 2022) after a Taguig court issued an arrest warrant against him over the 2014 rape and acts of lasciviousness complaints filed by model Deniece Cornejo.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — A Taguig City court has denied actor Vhong Navarro’s petition to stay in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) instead of the city jail while he is on trial for the alleged rape of model Deniece Cornejo in 2014.

Judge Loralie Cruz-Datahan of the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 denied Navarro’s motion to remain in NBI custody for “lack of merit.”

The order, issued on Sept. 29, stated that Navarro’s camp was not able to justify the need for his detention at the NBI facility.

Datahan said allegations that Navarro will be unsafe in the Taguig city jail were not substantiated.

She added that text messages allegedly received by Navarro’s wife that the senders were “waiting” for the actor was not attached to his petition and could not be interpreted necessarily as a threat to the actor’s life and security.

“It must also be emphasized that the city jail is mandated to exercise great care so that the human rights of prisoners are respected and protected. Thus in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties by the jail personnel prevails,” the order read.

The judge had earlier recommended no bail for the rape charges against Navarro.

The case was raffled off on Sept. 8 after the Taguig prosecutor’s office filed charges before the RTC on Aug. 31, with Assistant City Prosecutor Irish Kay del Valle accusing Navarro of using “force, threat and intimidation” in purposefully intoxicating Cornejo and raping her on Jan. 17, 2014.

The charges were filed after the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the resolutions by the Department of Justice dated April 30, 2018 and July 14, 2020 that dismissed the complaint filed by Cornejo.

A Taguig court in 2018 found Cornejo, Cedric Lee and Jed Fernandez guilty of grave coercion after Navarro claimed that he was assaulted and detained in her condominium unit on Jan. 22, 2014 to get him to admit to the rape allegation.

VHONG NAVARRO

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