Taguig court convicts Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee for grave coercion
A Taguig City court on Friday convicted model Deniece Cornejo and others for grave coercion filed by actor Vhong Navarro after they mauled him for allegedly raping her four years ago.
In a 60-page decision penned by Presiding Judge Bernard Pineda Bernal of Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 74, the court found Cornejo, her former boyfriend-businessman Cedric Lee, and Jed Fernandez “guilty beyond reasonable doubt.”
The three were sentenced to jail time of six months to three years and six months.
They were released after each of them posted a P12,000 bail in April 2014.
Lee’s sister, Berniece, was acquitted for “reasonable doubt.”
Navarro was mauled and illegally detained by Lee and his companions after he allegedly raped Cornejo “in less than a minute” in her Taguig condominium unit on Jan. 22, 2014.
Navarro then filed a grave coercion case after Cornejo and her companions forced him to sign a police blotter in the Southern Police District, “falsely admitting” that he raped Cornejo.
Lee’s camp said it was a form of “citizen arrest” after they caught Navarro in the act of raping Cornejo.
In a consolidated resolution in April 2014, the Department of Justice junked the rape and attempted charges filed by Cornejo against Navarro, for lack of probable cause.
Aside from grave coercion, Cornejo, Lee and martial artist Zimmer Raz were also facing trial for serious illegal detention, a nonbailable offense, before the Taguig City Regional Trial Court.
They were also released after each of them posted a P500,000 bail.
In a statement, Navarro said he was “very happy” and “vindicated” by the court’s decision.
Navarro was also thankful to God, the people who prayed for him and the justice system “that did not forsake him even after the years.”—DEXTER CABALZA
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