MANILA — Model Deniece Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee and Simeon Raz, Jr. have been granted bail by the Taguig Regional Trial Court, in connection with charges of serious illegal detention levied against them by actor-host Vhong Navarro.
The bail was reportedly set at P500,000 each, according to a media source at the Department of Justice.
Atty. Sal Panelo, legal counsel of Cornejo, confirmed the news on Monday via a radio interview with DZMM reporter Jun Lingcoran.
“Nakatanggap sila ng mensahe na nagkaroon ng nag-grant ng bail. In fact, pati sila lola of Deniece Cornejo ay pumunta sa court to get a copy of the resolution. …The court has confirmed na mayroon ngang grant ng bail,” Panelo said referencing the office Atty. Howard Calleja, Lee’s lawyer.
“Lagi naming sinasabi na walang serious illegal detention sapagkat unang-una paano magkakaroon ng serious illegal detention, alam natin na nabugbog si Vhong Navarro dahil ‘yung mga nag-rescue kay Deniece ay naabutan siyang na sexual assault. So nung binubugbog siya hindi mo pwedeng sabihin na dini-detain siya dahil that’s inherent sa pagsuntukan o pag-rescue. ‘Di naman pwede na sasabihin mo na na-detain mo ‘yan kasi hindi nakaalis dahil binubugbog mo, kaya walang illegal detention doon. At pangalawa siya ay dinala sa presinto,” he added.
In a separate statement, Calleja’s law office said: “This is a big step in proving what we have been reiterating from the inception of this case which is the truth — that our clients are innocent of the charges against them.”
Cornejo filed two complaints of rape against Navarro, whom she accused of having sexually assaulting her on January 17 and 22. The cases have since been dismissed.
Cornejo was held under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group at Camp Crame in Quezon City, while Lee and Raz were detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig prior to the granting of bail.
Meanwhile, Atty. Alma Mallonga, Navarro’s legal counsel expressed their camp’s shock and disbelief over the decision to grant bail, especially since the charge of serious illegal detention had been qualified before the court.
”Hindi ko lang maintindihan kung paanong sasabihin na walang serious illegal detention. This case is serious illegal detention because the ‘illegal detention’ was qualified by threats to kill, saka ‘yung serious physical injuries at ‘yung component ng ransom,” she said during an interview with radio station DZMM.
Given the decision to grant bail, Malongga expressed her client’s concern that the accused may decide to leave the country.
‘We’ll try to make sure that it is not done,” Mallonga said.
She added that she will be discussing with the prosecutors if the decision was even valid, given certain developments in the case, as well as the next moves should be.