MANILA (PNA) — For the first time in four months after the mauling incident, comedienne-Tv host-actor Vhong Navarro, faced the three of the five whom he accused of serious illegal detention.
Model Deniece Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee and Simeon “Zimmer” Raz, charged with serious illegal detention in connection with the January 22 mauling of Vhong Navarro faced the actor on Tuesday at the Taguig Regional Trial Court, which issued the arrest warrants for the non-bailable offense.
Handcuffed and heavily guarded by security escorts, Cornejo was presented to the Taguig RTC Branch 271 Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes, who issued the warrant of arrest against her.
Cornejo arrived at the Taguig RTC around 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday, a day after she voluntarily surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
On the other hand, escorted by NBI officials, Lee and Raz, accompanied by the former’s sister, Bernice, arrived at the Taguig RTC shortly before 1 p.m., while Navarro, arrived at the court past 1 p.m.
After three hours of closed door hearing, it was Navarro who first left the court refusing to grant media interview.
Security at the Taguig City Hall of Justice was tight as members of media were prohibited from entering the building.
Meanwhile, Alma Mallonga, Navarro’s lawyer, said Cornejo refused to enter any plea when she was arraigned at Taguig RTC.
Under court rules, Mallonga said, Taguig RTC Branch 271 Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes entered a not guilty plea for the accused.
She added the Taguig court did not issue a commitment order for Cornejo.
It was learned that the camp of Cornejo is set to file a petition for bail for the serious illegal detention charges.
Connie Aquino, Cornejo’s lawyer, said even if the case is not bailable, the client can still file for bail.
“All the lawyers know that, as long as the evidence of guilt is not that strong, the accused can file for bail,” Cornejo said in a TV interview.
Cornejo is temporarily detained at the Anti-Transnational Crime Unit (ATCU) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame.
Meanwhile. the hearing on the bail petition of Lee and Raz is set on May 16.
Lee and Raz have been detained at the NBI detention center after they were arrested in Eastern Samar on April 26. (PNA) LGI/CLTC