CEBU CITY — The Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Monday dismissed the rape case filed against singing champion Noven Belleza for “lack of interest” of the complainant.
“The court has noted the affidavit of desistance filed by the private complainant,” Judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan of Cebu City RTC Branch 7 said in open court. “However, notwithstanding [the complainant’s intent to withdraw the case], the court orders its dismissal due to the lack of interest on the part of the private complainant.”
The judge made the ruling shortly after Belleza was arraigned.
The 22-year-old Belleza, assisted by lawyer Frances Jan Villarino, pleaded not guilty to the charge of rape by sexual assault.
The 19-year-old woman who claimed she was sexually molested by Belleza inside a condominium unit in Barangay Lahug last July 15 did not attend the proceedings.
She had filed an affidavit of desistance and asked the court to dismiss the case against Belleza.
The woman said she was no longer interested in pursuing the case against Belleza due to “inordinately adverse effects it brought to me and my family” and for her to attain “peace of mind.”
In an interview, Belleza was grateful that the court dropped the charges against him.
“Maraming mga pagsubok sa buhay, pero ang mga pagsubok na yan, hindi naman ibibigay ni Lord kung hindi natin kayang lampasan,” Belleza told reporters.
(“There are many trials in life, but God won’t give them to us if we could not bear them.”)
Belleza, a rice farmer from Negros Occidental, was the grand champion in last March’s “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” a talent search aired as part of ABS-CBN’s noontime program “Showtime.”
Belleza was arrested by members of the Mabolo Police Station last July 15 after he performed as guest in a comedy concert of the noontime show’s host Vice Ganda at the IEC Pavilion in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño found sufficient basis to indict Belleza for rape by sexual assault.
Sexual assault can be slapped against a person who inserts his or her fingers or any other object into the genitals of another person.
Based on the investigation of the police, Belleza and the victim knew each other and were textmates.
Belleza was released from police custody after he posted bail amounting to P120,000.