Vhong Navarro denies rape charge
TV host cries blackmail, tags traderBy Arlyn dela Cruz, Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“I’m not a rapist. I don’t do drugs. I’m a God-fearing person. I love my family.”
From his hospital bed, comedian-TV host Vhong Navarro on Sunday denied the allegations made against him by a woman who accused him of raping her, prompting her companions to come to her rescue and maul him.
In an interview on the Sunday talk show “Buzz ng Bayan,” Navarro said the whole thing was an attempt to blackmail him so that he would be forced to cough up money.
He identified businessman Cedric Lee as the “powerful and influential man” and the leader of the group of men who beat him up.
“I want justice. I want someone to pay for what happened to me,” Navarro said. “I’m scared for my kids, for my family. These people threatened to hurt my family if I would tell the police what really happened.”
The comedian has been confined at an undisclosed hospital since Thursday to recover from injuries that he got from the mauling incident on Wednesday night at a Bonifacio Global City condominium unit.
Navarro also admitted that he signed an entry dated Jan. 22 in a police blotter in which he was accused of raping Deniece Millet Cornejo, 22, the resident of the condo. He pointed out, however, that he only did so because he was blackmailed.
“They told me that the blotter was their guarantee that I will do as I was told,” the actor said, adding that he was ordered to deposit money into a bank account to “repay the damage” he did to Cornejo.
“They also promised me that a video they took of me while being beaten up and harassed sexually would not be leaked to the media [if I gave them money],” Navarro added. He claimed that he was also forced to record a video wherein he admitted to raping Cornejo.
“They allowed me to go home because I was supposed to deposit the money on the afternoon of Jan. 23. I never got to make that transaction,” Navarro said.
“I’m ready for them. I need to be brave. If this happened to me, this could also happen to ordinary people, those who don’t have powerful connections like they do,” he added.
His statements were backed up by a source privy to details of the investigation who said that Lee, a businessman involved in several local government projects and the mining industry, was behind the beating of Navarro.
The source who is involved in private security, private investigation and detection confirmed information earlier released by Chito Roño, veteran director and Navarro’s manager.
According to the source, Navarro asked him to help him file a case against Lee.
The source said it was true that Navarro was invited by Cornejo to her condo unit. However, it was a trap, the source added, since Lee, Cornejo’s boyfriend, was lying in wait for the TV host.
The businessman and his five companions arrived at the condominium unit just minutes after Navarro did, the source said, quoting the comedian.
Inside the unit, Navarro’s hands were tied behind his back while they took turns beating him up. Lee also pulled a gun and pointed it at Navarro’s head, the source added.
Afterward, the businessman took out a camera and allegedly forced Navarro into recording an admission that he raped the 22-year-old girl. He was then blindfolded and taken to the police station.
“They took off the blindfold and told the police that they carried out a citizen’s arrest,” the source told the Inquirer.
Cornejo, meanwhile, filed a complaint of attempted rape against Navarro at the Southern Police District in which she narrated how the actor-TV host allegedly tried to rape her.
In her complaint, she claimed she was able to call for help from friends who rushed to her condo unit.
But according to the source, Navarro claimed that Cornejo was just forced into filing a report since her boyfriend caught her having a relationship with the TV host.
Proof of the extortion attempt, meanwhile, were the text messages sent by the businessman to Navarro, the source added.
“We have the text messages and even the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity). Lee is the owner of the phone,” the source said. An IMEI is a serial number that uniquely identifies a cell phone.
The text messages have been forwarded to the police, according to the source. The Inquirer tried to get Lee’s side but he could not be reached at press time.
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