Vhong Navarro's Camp Dismayed With Taguig CourtAtty. Alma Mallonga, the legal counsel of "It's Showtime" host Vhong Navarro, said their party was dismayed over the way the Taguig Court granted the petition for bail of Cedric Lee, Zimmer Raz and Deniece Cornejo.
The three were charged with serious illegal detention and grave coercion related to the mauling of Vhong in January this year. Deniece accused the TV host of twice raping her, but this has been dismissed by the court for lack of evidence.
Cedric and Zimmer are already out of detention after paying P500,000 each while Deniece remained in detention because her clearance paper was not signed by Chief City Prosecutor Archibald Manabat.
She will be out on bail on September 18, her lawyer, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, said.
Atty. Mallonga said in an interview that the court already said there was clear detention of the TV host, but whether or not the detention is illegal remains to be proven.
She questioned the decision of Judge Paz Esperanza-Cortes for granting the petition for bail after Vhong's camp failed to prove that Cedric and his group's intention was to seriously detain him or even kidnap the comedian-TV host.
Her decision said that the reason for allegedly detaining Vhong inside Deniece's condo unit in January still remains "unclear" because he was immediately turned over to the police station, and Cedric's camp asked for money in exchange for the non-publication of a certain video footage.
That footage, Vhong earlier claimed, is of him admitting to raping Deniece. He was under threat, he added.
Atty. Mallonga said the court did not give merit to the CCTV footages submitted by their camp to show that a rape could not have happened. Instead, the court relied "on the doubts engendered by the counter affidavits of the accused who have never even testified in court."
She wanted to air her grievances against the decision because Deniece and Cedric insist that the court allowing them temporary liberty means they were not guilty of the charges filed by Vhong.
Atty. Mallonga said it is impossible that what Cedric and his group did with Vhong back in January was a "lawful arrest" because nothing happened between Vhong and Deniece. This was proven by the dismissal of the two rape cases against Vhong.
How can there be doubt in the matter when there was clearly no reason for Cedric and his group to detain Vhong since no rape happened? Atty. Mallonga asked. She lamented that the court made it look like her client was at fault.
As for Atty. Howard Calleja, Cedric's legal counsel, he believed that there is a "legal detention" because what happened with Vhong was a "citizen's arrest." This was done because Vhong was apparently caught raping Deniece, he added.
There was the element of detention, Atty. Calleja said, but it was not illegal. He added that Vhong's camp was unable to prove that the "citizen's arrest" was invalid.