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Monday, July 15, 2024

Apellate court upholds bail for 3 in Navarro case

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THE Court of Appeals upheld on Thursday the bail granted by the trial court on the three suspects in the serious illegal detention case filed by host-comedian Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro.

In a 15-page decision penned by Associate Justice Renato Francisco, the ninth division stated that accused model Deniece Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee, and martial arts expert Simon “Zimmer” Ras could now post bail after the appellate court found Navarro’s petition without merit.

“While Navarro had indeed been detained, there is a possibility that said detention might be legal in view of citizen’s arrest and not for the purpose of kidnapping. Clearly, the evidence of guilt presented by the prosecution failed to exclude all reasonable probability of any other conclusion; hence the RTC is justified in granting the application for bail,” the ruling stated.

In September 2014, Regional Trial Court Judge Esperanza Paz Cortes allowed in her ruling a temporary release of Cornejo, Lee, and Ras after posting P500,000 each.

The CA agreed with the lower court’s finding that “the evidence of guilt of the prosecution was not strong.”

The CA further stressed that “if the prosecution’s evidence does not establish or amount to a great presumption of guilt, the trial court has discretion to grant the bail in favor of the accused.”

Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Manuel Barrios concurred in this ruling.

Navarro filed the case against the three after Lee and Raz allegedly beat him up on January 22, 2014 in a condominium unit in Bonifacio’s Global City in Taguig after he was caught allegedly trying to rape Cornejo.

The camp of Cornejo, meanwhile, hailed the decision of the CA.

In a statement, Ferdinand Topacio, counsel of Cornejo said that “(i)t is a great day. The Court of Appeals has vindicated the honor and dignity of a woman who was sexually wronged, and saw through the lies being perpetrated by Mr. Navarro to hide his lewd shenanigans.”

Last month, the Department of Justice dismissed with finality the rape complaint filed by Cornejo against Navarro.   


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