CA affirms dismissal of Vhong’s coercion case vs accuser

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
CA affirms dismissal of Vhong�s coercion case vs accuser
TV host Vhong Navarro surrenders to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Quezon City 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
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked a petition by actor Vhong Navarro to reverse a lower court’s dismissal of a case he filed against one of the men who accused him of raping model Deniece Cornejo in 2014 and allegedly beat him up to get him to admit to it.

In a 17-page decision promulgated on Nov. 11, the CA’s Special Sixth Division said Navarro “has no legal standing to file” a petition for certiorari against the decision of the Taguig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 266’s July 31, 2019 decision to dismiss the grave coercion case he filed against Sajed Fernandez Abujijileh, also known as Jed Fernandez.

“Navarro has no personality or legal standing to file the present petition inasmuch as the purpose for its filing is solely to question the judgment of acquittal of Fernandez as having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion on the part of the public respondent judge,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Carlito Calpatura stated.

In criminal cases similar to Navarro’s case against Abujijleh, Calpatura said the actor’s interest is limited only to civil liability, and if the case was dismissed by a trial court, an appeal of the criminal aspect can be undertaken through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Associate Justices Pedro Corales and Roberto Quiroz concurred with Calpatura.

The CA said Navarro filed the petition without the OSG’s consent and authority.

The CA also said Navarro failed to show that the Taguig RTC “hampered the prosecution’s evidence in any way,” noting that both sides were given a chance to be heard.

The Taguig RTC Branch 266 partially reversed and set aside the decision of the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC)Branch 74 that convicted Cornejo, her former boyfriend businessman Cedric Lee and Abujijileh of grave coercion after they beat him up on Jan. 22, 2014 to force him to sign a police blotter in the Southern Police District “falsely admitting” that he raped Cornejo in her condominium unit in Bonifacio Global City.

Navarro also questioned the Omnibus Resolution of the Taguig RTC Branch 266 on April 29, 2020 that denied his partial motion for reconsideration.

Navarro is in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation and will eventually be transferred to the male dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City upon orders from Taguig RTC Branch 69, which issued a warrant for Navarro’s arrest on the non-bailable rape case filed by Cornejo.

Navarro had earlier posted bail before the Taguig MeTC Branch 116 after he was indicted on the charge of acts of lasciviousness filed by Cornejo.

The CA ordered the filing of rape and acts of lasciviousness cases earlier this year after it reversed the dismissal of Cornejo’s complaints by the Taguig prosecutor’s office and the Department of Justice.

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