Vhong rape rap a go — Boying

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla yesterday said government prosecutors would soon charge television host Vhong Navarro with rape in compliance with an order of the Court of Appeals (CA).

“We will abide by the ruling,” Remulla said when asked about the CA’s reversal of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) rulings in 2018 and 2020 dismissing the case filed by Deniece Cornejo against Navarro.

Cornejo has alleged that Navarro raped her on the night of 22 January 2014, but the DoJ twice junked her case and her appeal over prosecutors’ doubts about her credibility.

In both instances, the DoJ said the rape complaint by the actress-model against Navarro lacked probable cause. In the 2018 ruling, government prosecutors cited “major inconsistencies” in her complaint-affidavits.

In the 2020 ruling, the DoJ denied Cornejo’s appeal for “appearing that the sexual encounter between Cornejo and Navarro was consensual.”

Penned by Associate Justice Florencio Mamauag Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Victoria Isabel Paredes and Mary Charlene Hernandez-Azura, the CA’s 14th Division decision said the matter of who between Cornejo and Navarro was 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 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,” the CA said.

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