Criminal Law

DOJ affirms junking of Rape Raps vs Vhong Navarro

Date: 12 July 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippine News Agency

MANILA, July 12 (PNA) - The Department of Justice (DOJ) affirmed its resolution, which earlier cleared TV host and actor Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro from rape charges filed by model Deniece Cornejo.

In a 20-page resolution dated April 30 but was obtained by the Philippine News Agency Thursday, the DOJ denied the petition for review filed by Cornejo seeking the reversal of its Sept. 6, 2017 decision, which found no probable cause to prosecute Navarro for the crime.

Cornejo accused Navarro of two counts of rape - by sexual intercourse and by sexual assault - which allegedly took place on January 17 and 22, 2014, respectively.

In her petition for review, the justice department said Cornejo tried to offer an explanation with regard to the inconsistencies in her narration of events.

In doing so, the DOJ said Cornejo casted more doubts on the veracity of her allegations against Navarro.

“In this regard, complainant-appellant’s offer of explanation, unfortunately for her, reveals more incredulity on her part than the veracity of her allegations. What the explanation clarified more is her incredulousness,” read the resolution signed by then Undersecretary Reynante Orceo.

The DOJ added that there is nothing irregular with its Sept. 6 resolution, which cited the findings of inconsistencies from previous resolutions that dismissed the rape complaints.

“It is unwise and decadent to ignore the previous dismissals of the complaint and the factual findings therein, especially when much time, effort, and resources had been expended to arrive at those resolutions,” the DOJ explained.

“If the factual findings in the previous resolutions still hold true, then there is no impediment to apply them again in the present complaint. That is not iniquitous and unprocedural. That is judicious and practical,” it added.

With regard to her supposed newly-discovered evidence, the DOJ said Cornejo was trying to circumvent the rule by simply filing her complaint-affidavit after the dismissal of her two previous complaints regarding the same incident.

It noted that the supposed new evidence cited by the complainant were already “discoverable and available” beforehand.

“In other words, these pieces of evidence are not newly discovered evidence and are being introduced in violation of the principle governing newly discovered evidence,” the DOJ said.

In its September 6 resolution, the DOJ noted that three preliminary investigations were conducted by the Office of the City Prosecutor in Taguig and by the City Prosecutor of Manila in connection with Cornejo’s accusations.

However, the investigating prosecutors found inconsistencies in her affidavits that warranted the dismissal of the said complaints.

“At least three investigations had been conducted into the accusations of complainant against respondent - by the DOJ’s three-member panel, the Office of the City Prosecutor in Taguig and by the City Prosecutor of Manila…In all three investigations, the credibility of complainant’s story has been passed upon and ruled to be questionable,” the resolution stated.

The DOJ said Cornejo’s version of the incidents “suffers from a very serious credibility issue.”

It noted that Cornejo filed two other complaints against Navarro over the same incident. However, Cornejo “changed her story each time.”

Navarro had earlier filed serious illegal detention charges against Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee and a certain Simon “Zimmer” Raz, who beat him up on Jan. 22, 2014 in a condominium unit in Bonifacio’s Global City in Taguig, after he was caught allegedly trying to rape the model.

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