Appeals court junks Vhong’s recon motion

The Court of Appeals has denied television host Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro’s motion for reconsideration that sought to set aside the court’s 21 July 2022 order to the Department of Justice to file rape and acts of lasciviousness charges against him.

In a seven-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Florencio Mamauag Jr., the CA Special 14th Division also denied Navarro’s motion for a status quo ante plea granted in his favor enjoining the filing of said cases against him.

“Here, the issues raised by Navarro in his motion, i.e., the parties’ credibility, the truthfulness of their respective claims, and the strength of their evidence, are matters best left to the determination of the trial court after a full-blown trial on the merits,” the CA declared.

To recall, the original CA decision reversed and set aside the 2018 and 2020 resolutions of the DoJ dismissing the complaints filed by model Deniece Cornejo against Navarro in 2014.

The appellate court held that its review of Cornejo’s complaints showed that all the elements of rape by sexual intercourse under paragraph (1) of Article 266-A were sufficiently alleged.

It added it was “erroneous” for the DoJ to junk Cornejo’s petition for review of its assailed resolution on the ground that her statements in the complaint-affidavits were allegedly inconsistent and incredible.

Navarro, in his motion made through lawyer Alma Mallonga, chided the appellate court for “unwarranted interference” with the prosecutor’s power to determine the existence of probable cause without justifying how the DoJ committed grave abuse of discretion.

Executive function

Navarro argued such action by the CA is prohibited under established jurisprudence considering that the determination of probable cause by prosecutors is considered an executive function.

He insisted that the charges against him were correctly dismissed by the DoJ and that Cornejo has not produced any new or additional evidence that will make the outcome of the present cases different from the previous complaints.

Mallonga reiterated that Cornejo’s statements under oath have disproved the commission of rape and acts of lasciviousness by Navarro. She noted that the first two complaints were dismissed because of the glaring inconsistencies in her narration of facts and her “questionable demeanor” after the alleged rape.

She insisted that Navarro’s version of the events that transpired on 17 and 22 January 2014 were truthful and credible.

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