Cornejo may question DOJ probe

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Friday, February 21, 2014


MANILA - The group of businessman Cedric Lee and aspiring model Deniece Cornejo may question before the Court of Appeals (CA) the Justice department's assignment of a team of prosecutors to investigate the mauling incident involving actor Vhong Navarro.

Navarro filed charges of serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, illegal arrest, blackmail and serious illegal detention against Cornejo, siblings Cedric and Berniece, Simeon "Zimmer" Raz, Ferdinand Guerrero, JP Calma, Jed Fernandez and a still unidentified person.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, lawyer Howard Calleja found it absurd for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to assign a three-man panel to hear the complaints against his clients Deniece Cornejo, siblings Cedric and Berniece Lee and Simeon "Zimmer" Raz.

He said the incident does not involve national security to merit such attention from the DOJ.

The panel is composed of Assistant State Prosecutors Olivia Torrevillas, Hazel Decena-Valdez and Marie Elvira Herrera.

"We reserve the right. It depends on us whether we will pursue or not the action," said Calleja after his clients personally subscribed to their counter-affidavit against the charges hurled by Navarro, who was beat up by Lee's friends for allegedly raping Cornejo.

Calma and Fernandez were required to submit their counter-affidavit on February 28 while the DOJ has yet to determine Guerrero's address.

Calleja told the panel during the packed hearing that his clients do not know where Guerrero lives.

The lawyer tried to get an extended deadline to file a reply affidavit to Navarro's denial to the rape charges filed by Cornejo.

This was denied, along with the motion of Cornejo's camp to give them more time to submit counter-affidavit to Navarro's complaints and subpoena the unedited copy of the footage taken by closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the Forbeswood Heights in Taguig City.

The National Bureau of Investigation earlier said the footage bolstered Navarro's version of events as Cornejo went out of the unit after the comedian arrived at her place.

But Calleja said rape can happen in less than a minute, citing a Supreme Court decision. (Sunnex)

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