Cedric Lee’s ‘smile’ in elevator weakens Deniece Cornejo’s second rape complaint | Inquirer Entertainment

Cedric Lee’s ‘smile’ in elevator weakens Deniece Cornejo’s second rape complaint

/ 09:14 PM July 12, 2014


MANILA, Philippines—Their “smiles,” as captured by the elevator camera, gave them away.

People supposedly rushing to rescue a woman from a rapist can’t have mirthful expressions on their faces, according to the public prosecutor who dismissed the second rape complaint filed by model Deniece Cornejo against comedian and TV host Vhong Navarro.


Taguig City Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Noel de Dios was referring to Cornejo’s friends who included businessman Cedric Lee, whose elevator ride going to her condo unit in the wee hours of Jan. 18, 2014, was recorded on a security camera video.

The video was obtained by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and photo grabs were submitted by Navarro’s lawyers as part of his defense, according to Johann Fernandez, one of the actor’s counsels.


De Dios noted that Lee and his companions were smiling in that shot,  “contrary (to a person’s) disposition going to rescue a friend.” Lee supposedly received a text message earlier from Cornejo saying she was being “harassed.”

Lack of probable cause

In a resolution approved by City Prosecutor Archimedes Manabat on July 4, De Dios dismissed for lack of probable cause Cornejo’s allegation that Navarro raped her on the night Jan. 17.

It was her second rape complaint against the ABS-CBN star, the first stemming from a Jan. 22 incident wherein Navarro was mauled by Lee and his friends after they allegedly caught him abusing the model also at her condo unit in Bonifacio Global City.

Navarro later sued Cornejo, Lee and six others for serious illegal detention and grave coercion. Cornejo, Lee and Zimmer Raz are now detained as the cases are being heard also in Taguig.

Cornejo’s first rape complaint—the one arising from the Jan. 22 incident—was dismissed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 10.

De Dios cited the two rape allegations to point out the weakness of the second complaint.


“(Cornejo’s) subsequent actions belie that a rape happened on Jan. 17, 2014. She appeared to be normal in going about her daily activities. No changes in behavior or attitude were observed,” De Dios added. “If indeed the complainant was raped Jan. 17 or 18, why would she still invite the respondent on Jan. 22 to her condominium?”

The prosecutor said the narration of the second alleged rape was “incredible” and that there was “nothing to prove” that Cornejo physically resisted Navarro’s advances.

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TAGS: Cedric Lee, Crime, Deniece Cornejo, Mauling, Rape, Vhong Navarro
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