LAST Wednesday, showbiz world woke up to another development that thickens the plot of the scandal that dragged the name of Vhong Navarro. Like a teleserye nearing its climax, the twist of events makes people drawn into the story that even national issues, in terms of media mileage, pale in comparison.
Saying that “I had enough of that Vhong-Deniece-Cedric-CCTV-hullabaloo” is merely a lie. For one, I know a lot of people who are not even into showbiz but suddenly became members of showbiz web and forum sites all because of the rape, as far as Cedric and Deniece’s camp is concerned, perpetrated by the host-comedian.
A searing subplot
As the drama unfolds before the public (via national TV of course), a new girl surfaced in the name of Roxanne Cabañero weeping for public sympathy as she claims to be another rape victim of the Mr. Suave (2003) star.
In an interview shortly after she filed a rape case against the host, the 24-year-old Roxanne narrated that the incident, which she regards as the “most horrific moment of her life,” happened at midnight in Pasig City on April 24, 2010. She said she first met Vhong when she and her fellow candidates of Binibining Pilipinas visited the studio of It’s Showtime for a promo tour (Roxanne joined the Binibini pageant that in 2010 but was later disqualified over the alleged nude photos of her circulating the Internet)
Asked why she came out to the media only now, the model and beauty queen wannabe said she was embarrassed and scared at the same time because she was young then and she knew she had no chance against Vhong, not to mention she also feared for her life.
“When I heard about Deniece’s situation, I was inspired. Lahat ng nangyari nag-flash back sa akin… Isang buong araw, I was crying. So after three days, I told my boyfriend. Naghanap na kami ng tao na puwede na malapitan. And it so happened that a good friend of mine knows Batalla (Deniece’s legal counsel),” she recounted.
Roxanne’s allegation was immediately belied by Vhong’s camp. His lawyer, Atty. Alma Mallonga, in a radio interview on Friday, said, “Ang masasabi ko lang po, wala pong ginawang karahasan sa kanya si Vhong.”
The lawyer said that Vhong confirms that he knows the plaintiff but did not elaborate on how her client came to know the woman in the new rape case. The lawyer also pointed out a puzzling side their camp is thinking about. She said that it is strange that a rape victim, who would normally be inclined to stay private, would come out openly.
Supporting the lawyer’s statement is a screengrab of singer Kean Cipriano’s twit posted on April 25, 2010 at around 2:20 in the morning. In the Twitter post, the band vocalist congratulated Vhong and Vice Ganda for a very successful concert. The gig was staged in Island Cove in Kawit, Cavite, which is 50 kilometers away from Pasig City or around an hour drive without traffic congestion.
Not to be upstaged by the emerging star of this media fanfare, Deniece Cornejo submitted a 20-page counter-affidavit on Friday during the preliminary hearing of her case against Vhong Navarro.
The document claims she was also raped by the 37-year-old host-comedian on Jan. 17 aside from the now infamous Jan. 22 incident that was caught on video by a closed circuit television. Also in the affidavit, the 22-year-old aspiring model narrated how the text messages “bad boy ka” (from Deniece) and “bawi ako sayo” (from Vhong) came about.
Deniece decided to divulge this episode because she couldn’t stand the lies told by Vhong that she performed oral sex on him. She also expressed doubt as to the extent of the physical injuries sustained by Vhong and the elevator CCTV footage in the hands of the NBI as “unauthenticated, evidently tampered and altered.”
Cedric on spotlight, too
The other leading man in the real-life drama shares the spotlight, too. Cedric Lee in an interview on Bandila expressed his anger over the “character assassination” done by ABS-CBN in its newscasts. He felt that the media institution puts his character in a very bad light.
His ire came after ABS-CBN repeatedly showed the footage of him kissing Deniece on the neck whilst his buddies were around the handcuffed Vhong inside the elevator of the condo where the alleged victim resides.
The businessman explained that what people saw on the CCTV footage was totally misunderstood. He just teased Deniece that “she’s delicious enough to be raped” hence he gave the young woman a kiss.
That was rather a cruel joke to a rape victim, wasn’t it? If that was Jessica Soho, she could’ve gone ballistic because rape is no laughing matter and “the horrors rape victims go through are unspeakable.” Well, just like most of the teleseryes on primetime, the plot of this media circus, by standards of an average reasonable person, is utterly disjointed if not unbelievable (abangan na lang ang susunod na kabanata).
On hindsight, if these allegations were all true, I would like to believe Vhong Navarro is a supernatural being, not only that he can commit rape in one minute time, he can also do it whilst in a totally different place. And if there are more people who have the same capability, well, practically all the beautiful girls are in danger.