Topacio dares Vhong's lawyer to take lie-detector test

Posted at 05/24/14 3:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The lawyer of model Deniece Cornejo challenged Vhong Navarro's lawyer yesterday to take a lie detection test to prove which of them is telling the truth on the alleged manhandling of Cornejo's 63-year-old grandmother.

“I will testify and I am willing to undergo a lie detection test to prove the incident,” Ferdinand Topacio told reporters before the hearing of the bail petition of Cedric Lee, Simeon “Zimmer” Raz and Cornejo at the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 271, where they are being tried for serious illegal detention.

Though the offense is non-bailable, the suspects still filed a bail petition.

Topacio was referring to the allegation of Florencia Cornejo that Navarro’s lawyer, Alma Mallonga, manhandled her outside the court’s restroom during the bail hearing on May 16.

Florencia has filed a grave coercion case against Mallonga with the Taguig prosecutor’s office.

Florencio claimed that during a break, Mallonga reportedly grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, demanding that she remove her shirt, which bore the statement, “Justice for Deniece, jail the rapist.”

She told reporters that her statement shirt did not refer to Navarro but insisted that she was just exercising her freedom of expression.

“It’s my right as a grandmother. I am crushed whenever I see her (Deniece) in jail,” she said. Cornejo is being held at Camp Crame.

Mallonga declined to respond to Topacio’s challenge, but insisted there had been no manhandling.

“I am prepared to face the charges in court,” she said, adding that she also has witnesses to prove her claim.

Meanwhile, Topacio said they questioned the authenticity of surveillance footage of the attack on Navarro that was presented in court yesterday. Navarro was beaten up in Cornejo’s condominium unit in January, with Cornejo claiming he was caught by Lee and the others raping her. The rape charges Cornejo filed against Navarro have been dismissed.

He said the footage has many interruptions and they will raise in court the possibility that it was spliced.

“It’s now up to the court to determine the authenticity of the (closed-circuit television) footage,” he said.

The bail hearing was off limits to the media.