This is not a trial by publicity, Vhong's lawyer says
MANILA – (UPDATED) The legal counsel of Vhong Navarro on Thursday played down accusations that they are conducting a "trial by publicity" which is more advantageous for her client who is a public figure.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News at the Pasig City Regional Trial Court where Navarro filed his his counter-affidavit against former beauty pageant contestant Roxanne Cabanero, Atty. Alma Mallonga said her client only talked about his situation on national television once.
The counter-affidavit included sworn affidavits by three dancers, Navarro's personal assistant and brother, as well as the producer of the concert which the actor took part in on the night the rape allegedly happened. Comedian Vice Ganda's affidavit was also submitted as an attachment.
“Hindi ko masasabi na trial by publicity ito on our part. Nagsalita lang si Vhong minsan lang. Ang nagsilabasan na sa media ay hindi si Vhong kundi sila Deniece (Cornejo) and Cedric (Lee) at nagsasabi ng kwento na alam nating hindi totoo dahil nakita natin ang CCTV footage,” she said.
Mallonga said she actually feels for Navarro because he is continuously being harassed.
“Simple lang siyang tao, he just happens to be an actor. Nasira na ang kanyang buhay. Hindi siya nakapagtrabaho ng halos kalahating buwan, tatanggalin pa ba natin sa kanya ang kanyang abilidad na makapagtrabaho naman para sa kanyang sarili or pamilya? Sobra naman 'yun,” she said.
“Kasi naririnig ko na hinahamon siya na ‘O sige lumabas ka Vhong, at lalong makikita ng lahat ng tao na wala namang ginawang masama sa 'yo kasi ayan ka na nagtatrabaho ka na.’ Tingin ko isa pang malaking trauma na ginagawa at pagpapahirap na ginagawa kay Vhong,” she added.
Despite this, Mallonga said their camp is not backing down because she believes Navarro is innocent.
“Itong mga ginagawa nilang continuing harassment kay Vhong, this is all panggigipit kay Vhong and we are prepared,” she said.
Asked if she is has received threats because of the much-publicized case, Mallonga said: “Hindi pa naman siguro. Wala naman akong kasalanan, ginagawa ko lang ang trabaho ko. Lahat tayo may trabaho. Trabaho lang ito sa akin. Kung tayo ay matatakot sa araw-araw na ginawa ng Diyos, anong klaseng buhay yun?”
“Sa akin, malinis ang aking konsensya. Malinaw sa akin na ang aking kliyente ay inosente, so gagawin ko ang trabaho ko. Kung may mangyari sa akin, nasa Diyos na 'yun. It’s not within our control. We try to be good people so when we meet our maker, we can say wala tayong kasalanan. Hindi natin iniisip 'yun,” she added. -- with a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News