Deniece Cornejo’s camp says Vhong must be jailed in Taguig, eyes contempt raps vs wife and lawyer

Published September 22, 2022, 2:54 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

The camp of model Deniece Cornejo said detained TV host and comedian Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro must be jailed in Taguig based on procedures.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Cornejo’s lead counsel, reacted to the comments by Navarro’s wife, Tanya Bautista-Navarro who said on Sept. 21 that she feared for the TV host’s security if he is transferred to the Taguig City jail for detention in connection with the rape case filed by the model.

Model Deniece Cornejo (left) and Vhong Navarro and his wife Tanya (File, Tanya Bautista’s Instagram)

“It’s not up to me or to Vhong’s wife, but we must follow the legal procedures. And the law is that an accused in a criminal case must be detained in the city jail within the jurisdiction of the court trying the case, which is the Taguig City Jail in the case of Mr. Navarro,” Topacio told Manila Bulletin on Sept. 22.

In an interview with the media on Sept. 21, Tanya said Navarro’s possible transfer to the Taguig City jail “is very scary.”

“Kasi threat ‘yun sa buhay niya. Basta very scary, very scary for Vhong (Because it will be a threat to his life. It just is very scary, very scary for Vhong),” she said, according to a video uploaded by ABS-CBN News.

She added, “I think the lawyers also filed a motion para huwag umabot doon. Pero ako right now, ang worry ko yung security for Vhong (I think the lawyers also filed a motion so it will not reach that [transfer]. But for me right now, my worry is Vhong’s security).”

“But for the meantime, at least yung security niya. Natatakot ako for him na ilipat siya sa Taguig (But for the meantime, at least his security. I fear for him when he is transferred to Taguig),” she said.

Topacio said the alleged threats to Navarro are unproven

“What strikes me as strange is that the alleged threats against Mr. Navarro is speculative and unproven. It is also an insult to the BJMP’s [Bureau of Jail Management and Penology] ability to secure detention prisoners. Mr. Navarro’s wife is just making excuses to give her husband special treatment. But there must be equal treatment under the law,” he said.

Navarro is now detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila after Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan of the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 issued a warrant of arrest without bail against him on Sept. 19 in a case that charged him of allegedly raping Cornejo on Jan. 17, 2014.

The Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office filed the rape case against Navarro on Aug. 31 before the Taguig Regional Trial Court based on an order by the Court of Appeals, which issued a decision that was promulgated last July 21 in favor of Cornejo’s petition for review of her cases against the TV host.

Topacio also announced that they will file contempt charges against Navarro’s lawyer, Alma Mallonga, and his wife for talking to the media about the case.

“Also, we are now preparing contempt charges against Atty. Alma Mallonga and Vhong Navarro’s wife for making statements that are sub judice in nature. We will not sit idly by while some people again make a mockery of justice by having another trial by publicity. They will be held liable!” he said.