MANILA - A criminal law expert believes attackers of actor/comedian Vhong Navarro were wrong in beating up Navarro even if it is true that he was caught in the act of trying to rape a model inside a condo unit in The Fort Global City, Taguig. Speaking to radio DZMM, Atty. Mon Esguerra said "reasonable force" should have been used to repel Navarro if indeed he was trying to rape the girl and had tried to fight Cedric Lee and company.
"Yung pambubugbog for attempted rape, sa akin, you cannot correct a wrong with another wrong. Kung totoong may attempted rape, mag demanda siya ng attempted rape. Pero yung bugbugin mo at halos mapatay mo ang isang tao, sa pagkakataong ito, sa akin ay di tama," he said.
Esguerra said proper procedure should still be followed in situations where a person is enforcing a warrantless arrest.
He said any arresting officer should identify themselves before making the arrest because a crime was being committed.
He, however, said the person making the arrest "cannot manhandle the accused or the suspect."
He also said he does not know if reasonable force was applied against Navarro since the actor said he was beaten up by several men.
Navarro earlier revealed that he was beaten up inside a condo unit in The Fort last January 22, Wednesday.
He said he was invited by his friend, Deniece Cornejo, to go to her condo unit on that date. He said that when he went up to the unit, Cornejo suddenly left the unit while 6-7 men came in, beat him up, and took videos of his private parts.
He also said the men, led by Cedric Lee, tried to extort P1 million from him.
A police blotter on the incident filed by Cornejo and Lee accused Navarro of trying to rape the girl. Navarro denied that he is a rapist.
For his part, Lee said he was just passing by the condo unit of Cornejo when he heard shouting inside. He said he and another friend entered the unit and pulled Navarro off Cornejo.
He confirmed that they hit the actor several times because he was trying to fight back, and that they tied his hands and feet to prevent his escape.
DON'T LET NBI PROBE CASE
In the interview, Esguerra also singled out Navarro's claim that Lee and company took videos of his private parts.
"That to me is very humiliating. You have humiliated your victim in excess of the crime that was committed. Hindi tama para sa akin," he said.
The lawyer also said he prefers another law enforcement division to investigate the case since there are reports that Cedric Lee allegedly has links to officials in the National Bureau of Investigation.
"I don't know if this should be NBI or [Criminal Investigation or Detection Group] or a special division within the [Philippine National Police]. The way I heard it, parang may connection sa pulis or NBI yung alleged nambugbog," he said.
Esguerra said Navarro could file a case of serious illegal detention against Lee and company if indeed he was tied up and beaten up by the group.
He said there is a "qualifying circumstance of serious physical injuries" while he was being detained.
On the part of Cornejo, he said the alleged victim could also file a complaint against the actor if indeed there was an attempt to rape her.
He, however, said the girl has to prove that Navarro tried to force himself on her.
"We are entering into the area of speculation. Will you take the side of Vhong or the girl? Gumamit pa ng pwersa si Vhong? If there is no force or intimidation upon the attempted rape victim, how can you call it rape?" he asked.
"[They said there was shouting]. It is the claim of the persons with Cornejo. They have to prove it," he added.