Why Deniece's family has yet to come out

Posted at 01/31/14 1:57 AM

Deniece Cornejo. File photo

MANILA - The legal counsel of Denice Cornejo has explained why no member of her family has come out in support of the now-controversial model.

Speaking on ANC's "Headstart" on Thursday, Atty. Howard Calleja said Cornejo has requested for the privacy of her parents amid her filing of rape charges against TV host and actor Vhong Navarro.

"The father, I was informed by Deniece, is an OFW working abroad. Some of the family members are here, some are also abroad, but she requested us to keep this private, to keep the privacy of the family.

"And that request, we accede to that. We also request the public to respect the privacy of the family... The support of the family is there, but it doesn't mean if they are not beside her on TV, they are not beside her in actuality," he said.

Cornejo formalized her rape complaint against Navarro on Wednesday, a day after the "It's Showtime" host filed criminal charges against her and seven others in relation to a January 22 mauling incident in Taguig.

In her complaint-affidavit, Cornejo claimed that the actor forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to insert his penis in her vagina, but was "rescued" by businessman Cedric Lee and his group.

Navarro denied attempting to rape Cornejo and claimed that he was a victim of extortion. He said he was blindfolded and tied up before being attacked by at least six men including Lee.

The actor has since charged Lee and Cornejo's group with serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention -- a non-bailable offense.

As the controversy unfolded early this week, people on social media brought up the absence of Cornejo's family members.

But according to Calleja, their lack of presence on television does not mean his client does not have the support of her parents.

"May mga tao na ayaw mo lang magpa-TV, 'diba? But it doesn't mean na in my office or any other place that we see them or meet them and that we see the support of the family... All I'm saying is that they would like their privacy to be maintained, and that, we respect," he said.