CA denies Vhong Navarro’s motion to stop filing of charges

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — The Court of Appeals (CA) rejected the motions filed by TV host and actor Vhong Navarro that would stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from filing rape and acts of lasciviousness charges against him over incidents involving model-stylist Deniece Cornejo in 2014.

In a resolution promulgated last Sept. 20 but only shared to the media on Sunday, the CA’s 14th Division said the issues raised by Navarro in his motion “are matters best left to the determination of the trial court after a full-blown trial on the merits.”

In his motion for reconsideration, Navarro pointed out issues regarding the credibility of the complainant, the truthfulness of their claims, and the strength of their evidence.

“It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof,” the CA added.

The CA 14th Division earlier reversed the decision of the DOJ in 2018 and 2020 that dismissed the complaints filed by Cornejo in 2014.

Taguig prosecutors then filed rape and acts of lasciviousness cases against Navarro early this month. On Sept. 19, he was slapped with two arrest warrants.

Branch 116 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Taguig City first ordered his arrest after finding probable cause to hold him for trial for acts of lasciviousness. He was allowed to post bail at ₱36,000.

But later in the day, Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan issued a separate warrant for the rape case, a non-bailable offense under Article 266-A (1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by the The Anti-Rape Law of 1997.

Navarro remains in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.

READ: Vhong Navarro under NBI custody for rape charge

Meanwhile, the CA 14th Division also denied his plea for the issuance of status quo ante order, which “has the nature of a temporary restraining order. It is an established doctrine that injunction will not lie to enjoin a criminal prosecution.”

The CA said Navarro’s case does not fall under any of the recognized exceptions to grant the order.