Vhong Navarro has finally spoken.
In an interview with Sunday talk show “Buzz ng Bayan,” the actor-TV host couldn’t help but be emotional as he detailed the mauling incident that happened to him on January 22 inside a condominium unit in Bonifacio Global City.
At the start of the interview, he narrated how he met Deniece Millet Cornejo, the girl who allegedly invited him to the condominium unit.
Navarro said he first met Cornejo two years ago, but they only met again on January 17 through an invitation by the latter.
The “It’s Showtime” host admitted that they became intimate while inside the condominium unit, but cleared that no sexual intercourse happened. Navarro cleared that he didn’t force Cornejo, adding that the latter also liked what happened to them.
“I’m not a rapist. I don’t do drugs. I’m a God-fearing person. I love my family,” he added.
Shortly after he left the place, Navarro said he received a text message from Cornejo, saying, ‘bad boy ka,’ (you’re a bad boy), which he answered with, “I’m sorry. Bawi ako.” ( I will make up for it).
Navarro said Cornejo agreed to meet again on Jan. 22.
“She even told me she’d cook dinner for me. It was also then when she began calling me sweetie. It was weird hearing her say that after she told me I was a bad boy,” he narrated.
When he arrived at Cornejo’s condo unit at 10:30 p.m., he knew then that something was wrong when she said, ‘Ikaw naman, binigla mo ako. ‘Di pa ako nakapaglinis.’ (You surprised me, I haven’t cleaned up.) I said, ‘Alam mo naman na pupunta ako dito.’ (You knew I was coming.)
“It was at that time when three men came out and pointed a gun at me,” he recalled. “Cedric introduced himself then tied my hands and feet with duct tape. I was blindfolded and then the beating began.”
In the same interview, the 37-year-old actor added that he was sexually harassed by the suspects, “Binaboy nila ako. Binaba nila yung pants ko. Binaboy nila ako sa ari ko at kinuhanan ako ng video.” (They molested me. They pulled down my pants. They molested me—my private parts—and took a video of me).
Navarro admitted that he filed a blotter entry on Jan. 22, stating that he tried to rape a certain Deniece Millet Cornejo, 22, a resident of the condo unit.
He stressed that he was blackmailed.
Navarro narrated that he was allowed to go home so he could deposit the money to a certain account. The suspects first asked for P200,000 until it reached P2 million, as a repayment for the damage incurred to Cornejo and to her condominium unit, as well as an agreement to keep everybody mum about the incident.
Immediately after the incident, Vhong Navarro filed a kidnapping case against Cedric Lee and five other men.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) then sent a subpoena to Cornejo, who failed to appear before the bureau on Jan. 27. NBI was not able to send a subpoena to Lee as they don’t know his address; they had hoped though that Cornejo will bring Lee with her.
“They lost their chance to air their side in the investigation of the NBI,” NBI-National Capital Region assistant regional director Vicente de Guzman III said.
NBI added that they will file the appropriate charges as soon as they finish the investigation.
At the moment, the evidences on hand are the affidavit of Navarro, three video recordings from CCTV cameras at the gate, the main door, and inside the elevator of Cornejo’s condominium building.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima believes that there were procedural lapses on the part of the Taguig Police.
“These happened in that particular condo unit, so that is the supposed scene of the crime; how come it was not cordoned off and processed thoroughly? I’m going to ask the NBI to investigate this,” De Lima told reporters.
De Lima added that the NBI would also investigate if the scene where the crime allegedly happened was “contaminated.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is investigating the charges of alleged rape and the possible lapses committed by police officers who first recorded the incident.
“The case is now being investigated by the Taguig PNP. The case was initially brought to the attention of the Southern Police District, where it was recorded and it was eventually forwarded to the Taguig City police,” Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas, PNP deputy chief for administration, said.
“If ever we found out that there were lapses on the part of the police officers, we will initiate appropriate actions,” he added.
Lee and Cornejo’s statements
In an interview with TV Patrol, alleged mastermind Cedric Lee and Deniece Millet Cornejo both denied Navarro’s accusations.
Lee said he caught Navarro in the act of raping Cornejo that’s why they defended their friend by beating up the host-actor. He added that Navarro voluntarily offered to pay for the damages he incurred to Cornejo and to her condo unit.
Meanwhile, Cornejo was firm that she is the victim, adding that she just wants to defend her reputation.
It was not the first time that Lee was accused of mauling. Reports showed that triathlete David Bunevacz also filed a mauling case against him a few years ago.
Reactions of Netizens
Following Vhong Navarro’s statements, netizens instantly flooded the social media to express their reactions.
“DENIECE MILINETTE CORNEJO, if u were really raped, you shld be the one askng and shouting for your justice NOT hiding” – JusticeForVhongX44
“Dapat pahawakan kay Honesto tong si Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo at Vhong Navarro e.” (‘Honesto’ should hold Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo, and Vhong Navarro) – Casi Burgos
“There are 4 sides of a story. Yung kay Vhong. Yung kay Deniece. Yung sa mga chismosa. At yung katotohanan,” (Vhong’s, Deniece’s, spectators’s, and the truth) – Banatero ng Bayan
Vhong Navarro’s marriage to Bianca Lapuz was annulled in 2008; they have a son. He has another son from a former non-showbiz girlfriend.
He first rose to fame when he became a member of the dance group “Streetboys,” but his biggest break came when he starred in the movie “Mr. Suave” in 2003.
The actor-host apologized to his non-showbiz girlfriend. He also thanked her for being with him during these trying times.
He was scheduled to undergo a reconstructive surgery on Jan. 27.