CA junks Vhong coercion case appeal

The CA said averring grave abuse of discretion on the part of the court is the function of the Office of the Solicitor General.

The petition of actor Vhong Navarro against the Taguig Regional Trial Court junking the grave coercion case he filed against Sajed Fernandez, alias “Jed Fernandez,” was itself junked by the Court of Appeals.

The CA said in dismissing Navarro’s petition that he has no legal personality to question the judgment of acquittal as doing so, averring grave abuse of discretion on the part of the court, is the function of the Office of the Solicitor General.

“The private complainant or the offended party may, however, file an appeal without the intervention of the OSG but only insofar as the civil liability of the accused is concerned,” the CA said.

Records showed the Taguig RTC reversed the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court that found Fernandez guilty of grave coercion and imposed on him a prison term of six months to three years.

The case was in relation to the incident on 22 January 2014 involving Navarro and the group of Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, Bernice Lee, Simeon Palma Raz Jr., Jose Paolo Gregorio Calma, Fernandez, and Ferdinand Guerrero.

The comedian alleged he was hogtied, blindfolded, gagged, beaten up, kicked, threatened, and a gun pointed at him during the incident.

Cornejo, on the other hand, filed rape charges against Navarro over the same incident for which he had been held under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Navarro averred that he was coerced into confessing he raped Cornejo after he was brought by the group to the Southern Police District where the incident was recorded.

It led Navarro to charge Cornejo and her group with grave coercion before the MeTC of Taguig City on 4 April 2014.

The MeTC granted the demurrer to evidence filed by Raz and Calma and, in effect, acquitted them of the charges.

The MeTC on 27 July 2018, rendered its decision that found Cornejo Lee, and Fernandez guilty of grave coercion. Bernice Lee was acquitted. Cornejo, Lee and Fernandez appealed the ruling before the RTC.

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