Vhong's lawyer seeks support for long battle ahead

Posted at 02/14/14 8:30 PM

MANILA - Actor-host Vhong Navarro is happy with the progress of the investigation into a January 22 mauling incident which left him with serious injuries, his lawyer said Friday.

"Of course he is happy," Atty. Alma Mallonga told radio DZMM. "He is happy because, you know what, galit ang mga tao sa insidenteng ito hindi lang dahil sa pambubugbog, e."

"Ang dami namang binubugbog, e, but it's the whole thing. 'Yung paggapos sa'yo, pag-detain sa'yo, pagyurak na katauhan mo, ibi-video ka, gagawan ka ng kwento," she said.

Noting the probe may encounter roadblocks, Mallonga said she has assured Navarro of her full support until the case is closed.

"I have to explain to Vhong that though he is happy... I constantly remind him na hindi pa tapos 'yung laban talaga. I have to explain it to him from the very beginning na it takes courage to have a case like this," she said.

The Department of Justice held another preliminary investigation hearing on the cases filed by Navarro and model Deniece Cornejo on Friday.

The next hearing is scheduled on February 21.

Navarro claimed that he was set up by Cornejo for an extortion attempt allegedly led by businessman Cedric Lee. The actor said he was blindfolded, tied up and attacked by "six to seven men" inside Cornejo's condominium unit in Taguig. He also alleged that his private parts were abused and recorded on video, which Lee has denied.

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.

Referring to the alleged P1-million extortion attempt on Navarro, Mallonga said on Friday, "The easiest thing for Vhong to have done... is to just produce the money. Gano'n siya katakot. But now, with what was done to him, he is now realizing that he has to do something. But the process is not that easy."

"Ang sinasabi ko kay Vhong atsaka sa mga nagmamahal sa kanya, we know that the process will take some time but we will be there. We will be there. Kahit wala na 'yung media dito, kahit wala na... Kasi magkakalimutan, kasi ang dami-daming mga kaso. Naiintindihan namin. But we will do our job," Mallonga added.

The lawyer also urged the media to continue bringing updates on the case, echoing an earlier statement made by Navarro that he pursued the criminal charges to help prevent similar incidents from happening.

"Vhong realizes that there is [a stake in] this, not just for him, but for his children and other people. And we have to support him. Huwag natin kalimutan ito. In the next few months, maraming mga bagong isyu, pero huwag natin kakalimutan ito."

"We have a stake in this, all of us."