Vhong Navarro rape charge gets go ahead from Court of Appeals

"It's Showtime" host and actor Vhong Navarro (left) and his alleged rape victim Deniece Cornejo. (Photos: Navarro – Vhong Navarro/Instagram; Cornejo – Deniece Cornejo/Facebook)
"It's Showtime" host and actor Vhong Navarro (left) and his alleged rape victim Deniece Cornejo. (Photos: Navarro – Vhong Navarro/Instagram; Cornejo – Deniece Cornejo/Facebook)

The Court of Appeals has given the go signal for the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office to file charges of rape and acts of lasciviousness against "It’s Showtime" host and actor Vhong Navarro.

According to a 26-page decision promulgated on July 21 and written by Associate Justice Florencio Mamauag Jr. of the CA 14th Division, it has granted Deniece Milinette Cornejo’s petition for certiorari and ruled against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) resolutions to deny the review of her cases against the prominent TV host on April 30, 2018 and July 14, 2020.

Associate Justices Victoria Isabel Paredes and Mary Charlene Hernandez-Azura also concurred with the decision.

According to the second highest court in the land, it was erroneous on the part of the DOJ to deny the petition for review of Cornejo on grounds that her statements in the complaint-affidavits were “inconsistent and incredible.”

“It was erroneous for the DOJ to deny Cornejo’s petition for review on the ground that her statements in the complaint-affidavits are inconsistent and incredible,” the CA said.

“In this regard, it bears to stress that the determination of probable cause does not depend on the validity or merits of a party’s accusation or defense or on the admissibility or veracity of testimonies presented,” they added.

The justices also stressed the “on-the-ground” reality that an affidavit is almost always incomplete, resulting in inconsistencies on the affidavit and the testimonies of the person on the witness stand.

“What is merely required is probability of guilt, the determination of which does not call for the application of rules or standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits,” the CA said.

“It is enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. Precisely, there is a trial for the reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of the charge,” the CA further pointed out.

Cornejo had filed three separate complaints against Navarro before the Taguig Prosecutor’s Office.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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