Cedric Lee, a Filipino businessman, is allegedly the man behind Vhong Navarro being beaten up, and an attempt to extort money from the ABS-CBN host and actor.
In an interview with Buzz ng Bayan from his hospital bed, Navarro said that Lee was the “powerful and influential man” who was behind the blackmail attempt.
According to Navarro, a group of men held him at gunpoint and threatened him and his family after he arrived at the home of a 22-year-old student. They forced him to admitting on tape that he tried to sexually assault her, and then told him that they would not release the tape if he paid them an undisclosed amount of money.
Navarro called for justice.
“I want someone to pay for what happened to me,” Navarro said. “I’m scared for my kids, for my family. These people threatened to hurt my family if I would tell the police what really happened.”
Navarro has been in a hospital since Thursday.
Lee responded to the allegations in an interview with ABS-CBN.
Lee said that he and friends were supposed to pick up Cornejo to go out on January 22 when they heard her screaming inside. They went in and found her fighting off Navarro’s unwelcome advances.
Lee grabbed Navarro off the bed, he said. He and the others were forced to struggle with Navarro when he refused to go peacefully to the police station, according to Lee.
Navarro pleaded with them not to take him to the station because it would jeopardize his career, Lee claims.
A source told the Philippine Inquirer that Lee has been identified as the owner of a cell phone from which extortion-related text messages were sent to Navarro. The messages have been forwarded to police.
Lee has been in trouble before, allegedly beating up triathlete David Bunevacz when the pair were partners in a cosmetic clinic visit. Lee and another partner made threats over the phone to Bunevacz, after which they left him “badly beaten” following a meeting. Then again, Bunevacz and his wife were later charged for alleged misuse of the company’s funds.
Deniece Millet Cornejo has been named as the 22-year-old student who accused Navarro of the attempted rape.
She said via Facebook on Monday that “Everyone wants nothing but honesty yet caught lying most of the time. truth hurts and no matter how painful it is, face it with dignity.”