Deniece's rape claim 'totally concocted': Vhong's lawyer
MANILA -- The lawyer of Vhong Navarro described as a "totally concocted" story the rape claim of model Deniece Cornejo, saying there is no factual basis for the complaint.
"This rape case is totally concocted. There is no factual basis for this so I do not think this rape case will be favorably acted upon," Atty. Dennis Manalo told reporters on Friday.
Cornejo filed a rape case against Navarro on Wednesday, claiming that the TV host-actor forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to insert his penis in her vagina in the evening of January 22.
Businessman Cedric Lee has claimed in several interviews that he saw Navarro on top of Cornejo, prompting him and his friends to beat up the "It's Showtime" host and conduct a citizen's arrest.
Manalo, however, said the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage released by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday support the testimony of Navarro since there was not enough time for the alleged rape and other incidents within the very short span of time that Cornejo was in her room with Navarro on January 22.
The clips taken from the CCTVs installed at the condominium's lobby and elevator show that after Navarro entered the building, Cornejo quickly left leaving Navarro behind in the unit. Lee and several others then quickly entered the condominium.
Navarro has denied that he attempted to rape Cornejo inside her unit in Forbeswood Heights Condominium in Taguig City.
"Wala pong saysay yung rape case na yun. Maliwanag naman, yung sambayanan po nakita na ang CCTV footage. That is to me the best evidence of the sequence of events," he said.
NBI assistant regional director Vicente de Guzman, head of the investigating team in the case, earlier stressed that Cornejo had already left Navarro inside her unit, which means Lee could not have witnessed Navarro on top of her in her room as the businessman has alleged.
But Atty. Howard Calleja, legal counsel for Lee and Cornejo, said in an interview Thursday that the CCTV videos remain questionable since they do not show what actually happened inside Cornejo's unit.
"What happened in the room, only Vhong (Navarro) and Deniece can say because sila lang ang nandoon before other people came in," he said.
Nonetheless, Manalo said they are confident that the "long arm of law will eventually catch up" on the suspects in the mauling of Navarro.
Charges of serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense, have been filed by Navarro against Lee, Cornejo and his other attackers.