Arrest warrants out vs Cedric, 4 others for serious illegal detention

Posted at 04/21/14 3:31 PM

Model Deniece Cornejo and businessman Cedric Lee (back) attend the Department of Justice's preliminary investigation last February 22 on the mauling incident involving actor Vhong Navarro. Photo: ABS-CBN News

Accused wants to turn state witness, bare 'Oplan Bugbog'

MANILA -- (2nd UPDATE) A Taguig court has issued arrest warrants against model Deniece Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee and three others accused in the mauling of actor-TV host Vhong Navarro.

The arrest warrants were issued by Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes of the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 271 against Cornejo, Lee, Jed Fernandez, Simeon Raz Jr. and Ferdinand Guerrero in connection with the serious illegal detention case filed by Navarro.

Serious illegal detention is a non-bailable offense.

According to Chief Supt. Jose Erwin Villacorte of the Southern Police District, they received the arrest warrants at around 12 noon.

Villacorte refused to comment on why the two others accused in the case -- Bernice Lee and Jose Calma -- are not included in the arrest warrants issued by the court.

"Subject pa to further evaluation," Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said. "It means the judge made her own independent evaluation of the facts and the evidence. Ipapa-evaluate ko 'yan sa panel of prosecutors namin, if there's need to file motion for partial reconsiration or a motion reiterrating the previous motion for the issuance of warrants of arrest against everybody kung hindi sakop lahat."

Meanwhile, de Lima said one of the males accused in the mauling is seeking to turn state witness and tell all regarding a supposed "Oplan Bugbog," which he said was planned by Lee, Cornejo and their group.

The January 22 incident took place at Cornejo's condominium unit in Taguig. Navarro was tied up, blindfolded and mauled by the group, and was then brought to the Southern Police District where he was made to sign a blotter that details his supposed attempt to rape Cornejo.

Last week, arrest warrants in connection with the criminal charge of grave coercion were issued against Lee's group.

Cornejo and Fernandez have since posted P12,000 bail for the grave coercion case. -- Reports from Henry Atuelan, DZMM; Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News