THE camp of controversial actor Vhong Navarro is in high spirits after the TV host was allowed temporary liberty for a P1-million bail by the court Tuesday.
The Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 had earlier said that the evidence of guilt against Navarro is not strong following the overwhelming inconsistencies that marred model Deniece Cornejo’s statements.
Cornejo had charged Navarro with rape and acts of lasciviousness.
And so along with his release, his camp tried to explain court findings that led to the approval of his bail order.
Navarro’s lawyer Alma Mallonga said there were conflicting issues in Cornejo’s testimony and these probably explained how the court was convinced that Navarro deserved to post bail. The lawyer said she believed that he would be acquitted soon, if no other aggravating circumstances were presented.
In an interview on ANC, Mallonga said that the most important witness to any rape case is the victim herself, hence their camp’s had practically begged to cross examine Cornejo herself at the earliest possible time.
And Mallonga got it.
Cornejo: No ‘rape’ occured
Contrary to her accusation, Mallonga said Cornejo, in her earlier statements, said that no rape occurred. Because of this, the actor’s camp confronted the complainant with multiple sworn declarations that she made in the past.
“Actually her explanation was that she just forgot to mention it, in the same way that she repeated the same narration, allegation of what happened on January 17 that Vhong went there, she had been doing some work and when her friend did not arrive she said I asked him to go and he did that was her version,” Mallonga said.
“This included three complaints that the court thought was most important although there were more that we confronted Ms. Deniece Cornejo with was her first complaint affidavit on January 29, 2014 where she said, no rape occured. She actually did not mention any rape that happened on January 17 on the contrary,” Mallonga said.
Mallonga said that to establish her client’s credibility, Navarro himself admitted that indeed, he had a sexual encounter with Cornejo which the latter, in her complaint affidavit, failed to mention.
Mallonga said they also presented as evidence an interview of Cornejo with broadcast journalist Kara David in January 2014 where Cornejo admitted that she met with Navarro but nothing happened.
In Cornejo’s complaint, Cornejo claimed that on January 17, 2014, she felt “dizzy” and “nauseous” after taking a sip of the wine offered by Navarro. She also said that despite her efforts, she “found it difficult to move” as the actor was making his advances.
This was confronted by Mallonga with repeated questions which Cornejo herself eventually again contrasted.
“I confronted her with at least five sworn declarations where I said did you drink any wine that Mr. Vhong Navarro offered? Mallonga asked.
“She said I declined the drink, I declined the drink, I declined, I declined, I declined until finally, one and a half years later, in her third complaint, that was the first time she said, oh I took a sip from the wine that was offered,” Malongga continued quoting Cornejo.
Mallonga also asked Cornejo that if indeed she were drugged, how can she fail to notice Navarro putting anything into her drink when they were just a few feet away from each other.
Smiling after the rape?
Another thing that Mallonga noted was that Cornejo’s testimony is “inconsistent with human behavior.”
Mallonga said that a woman who was supposedly raped would have naturally been out her mind, distraught and hysterical.
“I said, Ms. Cornejo, this is you in the footage[s], you were smiling, after the alleged rape,” Mallonga said as she recalled asking Cornejo.
“And when she was confronted with those footage[s] her answer on the (witness) stand is ‘yes, what’s wrong with that,” Mallonga continued.
The court also noted that as part of the inconsistency the fact that she continued to text with Mr. Navarro after he supposedly [raped her].
Because of the obvious inconsistencies, the camp of Navarro is positive that the case will have no other way but acquittal.
Mallonga is also certain that given the new developments, prosecution would have a difficult time because the case is ultimately dependent on the credibility of the witness and her testimony.
Navarro is said to be planning his return to “It’s Showtime” which he has been co-hosting since 2009.