Topacio dismisses Vhong wife’s fears

For saying she’s afraid for the safety of her husband actor Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro if he is jailed in Taguig City, Tanya Bautista-Navarro may face a contempt complaint from the camp of alleged rape victim Deniece Cornejo.

Cornejo’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said they are mulling charges against Navarro’s wife over her recent media pronouncements.

Topacio stressed that it’s only proper that the actor be transferred to the Taguig City Jail from the National Bureau of Investigation detention facility in Manila after he surrendered to face rape and acts of lasciviousness charges.

Cornejo claimed that Navarro raped her twice in 2014, a claim flatly denied by the actor who won a grave coercion case against Cornejo and businessman Cedric Lee, among others, in 2018.

“It’s not up to me or to Vhong’s wife, but we must follow the legal procedures,” Topacio, also a columnist of this paper, said.

“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,” he added.

‘Very scary’

On Wednesday, Tanya said Navarro’s possible transfer to the Taguig City jail “is very scary,” adding it will “be a threat to his life.”

Navarro’s lawyers, according to Tanya, are blocking his transfer from the NBI while seeking bail for the rape complaint on the ground that the prosecution has weak evidence against him.

Topacio, however, did not buy Tanya’s claim that Navarro’s life would be in danger if he is committed by the court to the Taguig City Jail while on trial.

“What strikes me as strange is that the alleged threats against Mr. Navarro are speculative and unproven. It is also an insult to the BJMP’s ability to secure detention prisoners,” Topacio said.

He was referring to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, an agency under the Department of the Interior and Local Government managing jail facilities for those under or awaiting trial.

Mere excuses

“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.

Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan of the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 issued last 19 September a warrant of arrest without bail against Navarro for the rape case.

A similar warrant with bail set at P36,000 was issued against Navarro by the Taguig City Metropolitan Trial Court on 15 September.

The charges were filed in the courts against Navarro by the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office after the Court of Appeals in July junked two decisions of the Department of Justice dismissing Cornejo’s charges against Navarro for lack of probable cause.

The CA said the allegations of Cornejo and Navarro’s rebuttals are best appreciated by the courts through
full-blown trials.

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