SPD: We repeatedly asked Navarro to give his side on mauling, rape claim
MANILA, Philippines — Southern Police District members denied on Monday any lapses in their handling of a blotter entry alleging that badly mauled television host Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro had attempted to rape a young woman in her condominium unit at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) last Jan. 22.
On Monday, Police Officer 3 Dalmacio Lumuian and PO3 Rolly Laureto of the Southern Police District-Investigation and Detective Management narrated how Navarro and complainant Deniece Milinette Cornejo were brought to their office by businessmen Cedric, Bernice Cua Lee and Cornejo’s male cousin around 11:49 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Navarro had been brought in “with a swollen right eye, blood on his forehead, and his hands duct-taped behind his back” Lumuian said. Cedric Lee had told the police investigators they had enacted a “citizen’s arrest” on Vhong after catching him in the act of attempting to rape their friend Cornejo in her condominium unit in Forbeswood Heights.
Laureto said that they had repeatedly asked Navarro if he wanted to go to a hospital for treatment, but Navarro insisted “Huwag na, sir,” (Never mind, sir).”
“We asked him what happened. He didn’t want to talk. His only request was that the incident would not be revealed to the media,” Laureto said. “I just gave him water so he could wash his face,” he added. Laureto said he had also cut the duct tape binding Navarro’s hands.
Lumuian said Cornejo was mostly “quiet and staring into space” during the whole affair. As she narrated what happened, “She spoke slowly and kept stopping. We had to prompt her to narrate faster. It was why it took us almost an hour to wrap up.”
Lumuian said that Cornejo had manifested that she would no longer file a criminal complaint against Navarro, and that she was only reporting the incident for the blotter “for record purposes.” “She also did not want the incident to be revealed to the media,” Lumuian said.
Lumuian also defended why they took in the case, when the BGC police community precinct was located nearer to the Forbeswood Heights condominium. “That’s allowed because the Southern Police District is also a police station. We can entertain complaints,” he said.
“We didn’t know who the complainants were,” Lumuian defended. The police investigator also said he initially did not recognize Navarro because of his injuries and because of a baseball cap he was wearing.
The blotter report was signed by Cornejo, Navarro, the two Lees as witnesses, and Lumuian.
The blotter report detailed that Cornejo was alone when Navarro dropped by her residence at around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
“As a friend, the complainant welcomed Navarro inside her house. However, while inside, [Navarro] suddenly held Cornejo’s hands and pulled the hair of the complainant, forcing her to [sit] down on the chair,” the blotter read.
Cornejo said that, sensing the “evil motive” of Navarro, she ran to a room but he followed her, forcing her to lie down on the bed and trying to take her shorts off as he lay on top of her despite her protestations. It was at this point that the Lees arrived and allegedly caught Navarro “in the act.”
Cedric Lee maintained this story in his statement released to media.
In the report, Lee said he and his sister were picking up Cornejo on the evening of Jan. 22 when they heard Cornejo screaming inside her unit.
Since the front door was unlocked, Lee said they were able to enter the unit. They spotted Cornejo fighting off Navarro.
“Ang instinct ko, I grabbed him from the back at hinila ko pababa ng kama. Si Deniece ay tumakbo sa sister ko at inilabas na siya sa condo unit. Naiwan dun sa condo ako at ‘yung lalaki na di ko pa kilala ay si Vhong,” Lee was quoted as saying in the report.
Lee said the actor fought back as they tried to arrest him. “Napilitan namin siyang suntukin at naupakan namin siya. Nagkabasag-basag ang mukha niya,” Lee said.
On Sunday, Navarro had already denied such accusations. In an interview on television talk show “Buzz ng Bayan,” Navarro said Cornejo invited him to her unit after they earlier met up on Jan. 17.
Navarro said that upon his arrival, Cornejo exited the unit, and then three men barged in and pointed a gun at him. He accused Lee as the leader of a group of seven men who beat him up and tried to blackmail him into coughing up P1 million to “repay the damage” he has done to Cornejo.
Navarro said the group forced him to admit he was a rapist on camera, and threatened to release the video should he refuse to pay up.
Navarro said he was then brought to the SPD, but that he was too afraid to speak up because he didn’t know if the police were in on it.
Laureto recalled that after the blotter record was signed, Navarro requested the police to bring him back to his car still parked at Forbeswood, which the police agreed to.
The unidentified male cousin from Cornejo’s camp went with them, but as soon as he left Navarro alone, “we chased after [Navarro] to try to get his side again. He said he would rather not talk in fear for his family,” Laureto said.
Meanwhile, the Taguig police have threatened to file criminal complaints against the administration and security agency of the Forbeswood Heights condominium.
In a press conference on Monday, the Taguig police chief, Senior Supt. Arthur Asis, gave Forbeswood Heights and its hired security agency Megaforce until 6 p.m. to “cooperate with the [police] probe” on the incident, or face obstruction of justice complaints.
Asis said he repeatedly sent men since Friday to follow-up on the mauling, but the security agency said they were “under orders from the building management to refrain from revealing any information.”
“We explained that there was an alleged crime in their area of responsibility, and that if they refused to cooperate [with a police probe], we can file criminal complaints against them,” Asis said.
Asis explained that Megaforce officials could be charged administratively for violating Republic Act 5487, which requires private security agencies to report to the police any criminal violations happening in their areas of responsibility.
“They are required to assist law enforcement agencies. They have no other recourse but to cooperate,” Asis said. Asis said they were requesting security camera footage and logbook records from the security agency.
As of Monday noon, however, the Taguig police have still not received any complaints from either Navarro or Cornejo’s camp. He urged both parties to cooperate with the police probe so the investigation could proceed.
On orders from no less than Metro Manila police director Carmelo Valmoria, however, “We will pursue the investigation whether there is a complaint or not,” Asis said.