Vhong released from hospital, faces DOJ

Posted at 02/06/14 12:51 PM

MANILA - (4th UPDATE) Actor-host Vhong Navarro faced the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday afternoon, two weeks after being attacked inside a condominium unit in Taguig last January 22.

Navarro, who had been recovering at St. Luke's Medical Center, was released from the hospital to re-affirm his complaint against the group of businessman Cedric Lee and model Deniece Cornejo before Assistant State Prosecutor Hazel Valdez.

The actor filed six criminal charges against Lee, Cornejo, and six others last January 28: serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention -- a non-bailable offense.

Accompanied by his legal counsel, Atty. Alma Mallonga, Navarro on Thursday also submitted to the DOJ two supplemental affidavits in relation to the incident.

Navarro has claimed that he was set up by Cornejo for an extortion attempt allegedly led by Lee. The actor said he was blindfolded, tied up and attacked by at least six men inside Cornejo's condominium unit.

In his first interview on the incident last January 26, an emotional Navarro also alleged that his private parts were abused and recorded on video.

The supplemental affidavits submitted by Navarro include alleged text messages sent by Lee to the actor on January 23 and 24.

Lee, in his alleged messages, supposedly demanded Navarro to pay for damaged furniture in Cornejo's room. One of the messages supposedly detail the account number where Navarro was allegedly told to deposit the payment.

Also included in the affidavit are images from the CCTV footage which show the alleged suspects in Navarro's mauling. Among those identified by the actor were Zimmer Rance or Simeon Raz Junior, Ferdinand Guerrero, Jed Fernandez, JP Calma and Bernice Lee.

Photos taken by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) of Cornejo's condominium unit were also part of the affidavit. Navarro annotated the photos to identify alleged details of the incident, including where he was beaten up.

Cornejo, in her rape complaint filed against Navarro last January 29, alleged that she was "rescued" by Lee's group from being sexually assaulted by the actor, which supposedly led to the mauling.

While Navarro's camp was only furnished a copy of Cornejo's rape complaint on Thursday, Mallonga appealed that the first hearing on the case, as well as on the actor's complaint, be moved to an earlier date.

The first preliminary investigation on the charges filed by both parties has been set on February 14, where Navarro's two witnesses have been ordered to appear. A second hearing is scheduled on February 21.

Valdez denied Mallonga's appeal to move the date, citing the need for both parties to study the respective cases filed against them. Valdez also noted that Lee and Corneno's camp have yet to receive a copy of Navarro's amendments and supplemental affidavits filed on Thursday.

It is unclear when Navarro is set to file his counter-affidavit in the rape case.

Navarro arrived at the DOJ directly from the St. Luke's Medical Center, where he briefly spoke with reporters. He thanked those who continue to support him amid the controversy, which has made headlines in the last two weeks.

"Maraming salamat sa lahat ng nagdarasal, sa lahat nang nagpapalakas ng loob ko, maraming maraming salamat po," he said.

The actor had to be hospitalized due to the "contusion hematoma around his eyes, forehead, chin and some parts of his extremities." He also had to undergo reconstructive surgery due to broken bones in his nose, according to his doctor.

Mallonga on Wednesday told ABS-CBN News the actor is on his way to full recovery, saying he is "about 80 to 90 percent okay already."