Vhong Navarro was absent from the mediation hearing this week in the grave coercion case against Cedric Lee and others, but that didn’t stop Lee from calling the ABS-CBN host a rapist.
Cedric’s sister Bernice, Simeon “Zimmer” Raz, and Deniece Cornejo were also at the mediation, which was held at the Taguig City Metropolitan Court.
Lee told reporters after the meeting that he didn’t know where Navarro, “the rapist,” was. He also said that he is not open to a settlement with Navarro.
The hearing stems from January 22, when Navarro was alleged to have raped Cornejo. Lee and his group, which included seven others, purportedly rescued Cornejo. But the rape complaint was dismissed by the Department of Justice, and Navarro pressed charges because he said the group set up him up, beat him, and tried to blackmail him.
Navarro’s lawyer Alma Mallonga said after the hearing that Navarro is also not willing to come to a settlement, and noted that the mediation is “required and not a matter of choice.” She said that she and Navarro would consider whatever the mediator decides is best.
Explaining the absence of Navarro from the mediation hearing, Mallonga said, “Among others, we did raise the fact that we had legitimate concerns about kung ano’ng mangyayari pag siya’y nandito ulit,” reported ABS-CBN.
Navarro was recently surrounded by a group on May 29 outside the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office in reference to another rape charge, from Roxanne Cabanero. That one appears to be on flimsy ground as well.
Mallonga also said that the “rapist” remark by Lee is a “precise” example of why Navarro doesn’t want to attend the mediation hearings.
“But in the end, what is important for us is that there are already cases pending and we are very confident that following the process, hopefully, we will get justice,” she said.
Raz and Lee continue to be held at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila for the non-bailable offense of serious illegal detention in reference to the same case.
Cornejo is also in custody for that alleged offense, in Quezon City.