Vhong Navarro case folder still ‘intact’ – DOJ

August 8, 2022 Hector Lawas 622 views

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday belied claims that the rape case folder of actor-host Vhong Navarro was “missing”.

“No (it is not missing). Just tracing it because it was under petition for review. When it was located, it contained numerous pages. The paging must be indicated in the transmittal,” Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said in a message.

According to Malcontento, the case’s folder was already transmitted to the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office as ordered by the Court of Appeals (CA) in a recent decision.

“Folder was transmitted (to) OCP Taguig last Friday,” Malcontento said. “Records of the case still intact. Parties need not worry.”

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for complainant Deniece Cornejo, claimed the other day that the model’s camp may have suffered another setback as the case’s folder cannot be located.

According to him, the records custodian of the DOJ may face charges over the missing case file.

“That is a criminal offense. That is infidelity in the custody of official documents,” Topacio said.

The CA has directed the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office to file rape and acts of lasciviousness charges against Navarro for allegedly sexually abusing Cornejo.

This was after the appellate court reversed the twin rulings of the DOJ last 2018 and 2020 dismissing the cases filed by Cornejo.

“Cornejo decries attempted rape on the night of January 22, 2014, while Navarro denies any wrongdoing. We reiterate once more that the preliminary investigation is not the proper venue on the respondent’s guilt or innocence,” the CA ruled.

“Cornejo’s claim that she initially managed to escape Navarro’s unwanted advances, but he caught up with her to further his perverse objective satisfies the element of force and intimidation,” it pointed out.

The ruling was penned by CA Associate Justice Florencio Mamauag Jr., with Associate Justices Victoria Isabel Paredes and Mary Charlene Hernandez-Azura concurring.

According to the CA, the matter of determining who is telling “the truth” should be left to the discretion of trial courts.

“Issues of credibility should be adjudged during the trial proper. It goes without saying that it is the trial court that has the unique power and position to observe the witnesses’ deportment, manner of testifying, emphasis, gesture, and inflection of the voice, all of which are potent aids in ascertaining the witnesses’ credibility,” the CA said.

“However artful a corrupt witness may be, there is generally, under the pressure of a skillful cross-examination, something in his manner or bearing on the stand that betrays him, and thereby destroys the force of his testimony, ” it continued.