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National

VIDEO | Another rape case filed against Vhong Navarro

InterAksyon file photo of Vhong Navarro.

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Three weeks after Deniece Cornejo formally filed rape charges against Vhong Navarro, another woman has lodged a similar complaint against the comedian and TV host.

Virgilio Batalla, lawyer of the unidentified complainant, told “Aquino and Abunda Tonight” that the alleged crime happened way back in 2010 or about four years before the January 22 mauling incident that Cornejo said had been preceded by Navarro’s attempt to rape her.

The new rape case was filed at the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.

Batalla, who claims to be the chairman of Lingap Pinoy Foundation—an organization that provides free legal services and burial assistance to poor people—added that his client had decided to remain anonymous for the moment.

Ang kaso po ay nakasampa na at kami po ay naghihintay ng tamang proseso ng batas para magbigay ng detalye sa kasong ito,” the lawyer told host Boy Abunda on the show.

But journalist Tony Calvento posted the name of the alleged complainant in a post on his Facebook page a few hours before the news was reported on TV.

“BREAKING NEWS: A Woman by the name of ‘ Roxanne’ has filed a case of RAPE versus Vhong Navarro with the DOJ. It’s going to come out in the news any moment,” Calvento posted.

Best known for his column, “The Calvento Files” that became the basis of a popular TV series and movie of the same title back in the 1990s, Calvento has been following the Vhong-Deniece saga with keen interest and even interviewed Navarro on his radio show at DWIZ last February 18.

In addition to identifying the complainant as simply Roxanne, Calvento also posted the following on Facebook: “Is the complainant of rape against Vhong the same girl who joined a Beauty Pageant but was forced to resign from the competition after an investigation was made and later found out to have posed for a photo nude session? Just asking Atty. Virgillo Batalla?”

Hours after that posted, gossip blog site, Fashion Pulis uploaded several photos of the woman that Calvento could be referring to under the heading, “Question: Is Roxanne Cabanero the Other Girl Who Filed Rape Charges Against Vhong Navarro?”. The site qualified that the images are “courtesy of a Fashion Pulis reader”.

One of those photos was lifted from the beauty pageant blog, Norman’s Blog (www.normannorman.com) and included information on the woman described as a native of Cebu City and “Venus Raj look-alike”.

In a 2011 report by ABS-CBNNews.com, Cabanero was not actually disqualified from the 2011 Binibining Pilipinas pageant but was asked to “drop out of the competition” after she herself reported the online circulation of a nude photo believed by many to be her. She vehemently denied that she was the woman in the picture.

Reacting to the filing of the new rape charges, Atty. Alma Mallonga, lawyer for Navarro, said it was “not unexpected” and questioned the motive and timing of the legal action.

“Some weeks ago, Cedric (Lee) has already been saying that he’s been talking to some women and I understand that his lawyer has said na mayroon silang pasabog. Hindi kami nagulat kasi intindi pa nga namin that this is just the first of others,” Mallonga added.

In his television interview, Batalla said he had no knowledge if the rape complainant has any ties with Cedric Lee, who earlier declared in his own interviews that more women would come forward and speak out against Navarro.

Radio and TV host Kat Alano was initially believed to be one of those women after she came out with a series of controversial tweets about rape. But Alano later backed off and tweeted that her statements were just her “personal opinion” and should not be taken “out of context”.

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