Manila, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the rape case and acts of lasciviousness against actor Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro on Monday, March 13, 2023.
The case was junked due to a lack of probable cause. The court’s Third Division reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, stating that it gravely erred by allowing the appeal of model Denice Cornejo.
Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting wrote the ruling that read:
“Here the prosecutor had reasons to doubt the veracity of Cornejo’s accusations, as the glaring and manifest inconsistencies pointed out in her complaints are readily discernible by common sense without need of rigorous examination or an expertise of a trial court judge for such purpose,”
“To suggest that a prosecutor turn a blind eye to such glaring and manifest inconsistencies–under the premise that the evaluation thereof would already touch on the complainant’s credibility to be solely assessed in a full-blown trial–would be to compel the prosecutor to satisfy himself or herself to mere allegations in a complaint, and abdicate his or her bounden duty to screen cases for trial, thus passing the buck to the trial courts.”
Inconsistencies in allegations
The Third Division’s ruling, dated February 8, 2023, granted the Petition for Review on Certiorari by Navarro’s legal team. The said division then reversed and discarded the decision dated July 21, 2022, and the Resolution dated September 20, 2022, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 166222.
There were inconsistencies in the complainant’s allegations.
In Cornerjo’s complaint filed on January 29, 2014, she alleged that she was not raped but changed her story in her second and third complaints alleging that the actor raped her.
“Justice and fair play dictate that Cornejo should not be permitted to materially change her theory in her two previous complaints in a deliberate attempt to address or rectify the weaknesses of her theories, as pointed out by the prosecutor in the dismissal thereof, or worse supplant or add new material allegations,” the SC said.
In an ABS-CBN Facebook post, Vhong Navarro later issued a statement through his manager, Director Chito Roño, following the Supreme Court’s dismissal.
“Sobrang thankful po ako. Dahil pinakinggan ulit ni Lord ang dasal ko. May mga pagkakataon kse nawalan na ko ng pag asa sa justice system natin nung nasa loob ako. Dahil sa ginawa ng Supreme Court nabalik ulit ang tiwala ko sa Justice system ng pilipinas. Alam ko hindi pa final to pero laking pagpapasalamat ko na sa kanila. Nag papasalamat din ako sa legal team ko, sa Abs Cbn , Kay Direk Chito, sa pamilya at mga kaibigan ko at sa mga naniniwala sa akin dahil hindi nila ko pinbayaan at iniwan sa pinaka down na buhay ko.”
The post is quickly filled by fans sending messages of support to the actor.
Navarro also expressed his thanks while at the long-running noontime show It’s Showtime, reiterating his renewed trust in the Philippine justice system.
Watch his full message here:
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