Cedric a victim of trial by publicity, says Fortun

Posted at 02/12/2014 6:25 PM | Updated as of 02/12/2014 6:40 PM

MANILA -- The spokesperson of Cedric Lee cried foul over a recent televised interview of a psychologist about the behavior of those involved in the mauling of actor-host Vhong Navarro, including the businessman.

Atty. Raymond Fortun on Wednesday criticized the statement made by cognitive and developmental psychologist Dr. Maricar Fajardo in the February 2 episode of "Buzz ng Bayan," where she was asked to examine the body language of Navarro, Lee and model Deniece Cornejo in their respective interviews about the January 22 incident.

Referring to Lee's behavior in his January 27 interview with ABS-CBN News, Fajardo said: "'Yung body posture niya, 'yung body niya, it's leaning to one side. It signifies tension. He's very tense. He's not confident about what he’s saying. When it comes to the manner of speaking, he's very continuous although mapapansin mo titingin siya sa ibang tao sa loob ng kwarto as if to ask for confirmation."

Fortun said that while he originally did not take sides in the controversy, he reconsidered after watching Fajardo's interview on "Buzz ng Bayan."

The lawyer said it so happened that Lee called him at the time and this led to him taking up the role of Lee's spokesperson.

He also referred to Lee as a victim of trial by publicity, citing Fajardo's interview as an example. Fortun added that the psychologist's statement about his client lacks basis, pointing out the video of Lee's interview only supposedly lasted five minutes.

Meanwhile, Fortun once again addressed the subject of Cornejo buying a laptop allegedly with a video-editing software on January 26, the same day Navarro first identified her and Lee as those behind the mauling in Taguig.

The National Bureau of Investigation has sent a subpoena to the Quezon City computer store where Cornejo bought the laptop.

Fortun said Cornejo only bought the laptop because she lost her old one. He added that Cornejo only had the image-editing software Photoshop installed on the new unit, and not a video-editing program as reported.

The lawyer, likewise, expressed confidence that both Lee and Cornejo are telling the truth about the mauling incident, saying he would be the first to castigate them if it turned out otherwise.

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.

Navarro 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 "six to seven men" inside Cornejo's condominium unit. He also alleged that his private parts were abused and recorded on video, which Lee has denied.

The "It's Showtime" host has since filed six criminal charges against Lee's group: serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail, and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense.

Citing the negative public perception on Lee and Cornejo following their respective media interviews, Fortun said on Wednesday that he is urging lawmakers to have mediamen first read out the rights of an interviewee before conducting an interview.

Fortun said citizens are susceptible to "abuse" when being interviewed because they are not aware of their right to remain silent, right against self-incrimination, or right to counsel.

The first preliminary investigation on the charges filed by both Navarro and Cornejo is scheduled on Friday. -- From a report by Edwin Sevidal, DZMM