Cornejo, Lee plead not guilty to grave coercion

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NOT guilty!This was the plea entered by modelstylist Deniece Cornejo and Bernice Lee to the grave coercion charges filed against them in connection with the mauling of TV host-actor Ferdinand ‘Vhong’ Navarro.

Navarro’s lawyer Alma Mallonga said Cornejo and Lee were arraigned on Thursday before the Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) Branch 74. Cornejo, escorted by security personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP), arrived at the Taguig court shortly before 8 a.m.

After the hearing, Cornejo was immediately taken back to her detention cell at Camp Crame. Bernice is the sister of businessman Cedric Lee who was also implicated in the two cases stemming from the mauling of Navarro on January 22.

Mallonga also said the court has ordered the arrest of another suspect, Jed Fernandez, who failed to show up at the arraignment.


She said the court denied Fernandez’ motion for suspension of the proceedings due to lack of basis.

“The court issued a warrant of arrest against him after his bail was canceled,” Mallonga added.

Navarro, accompanied by Mallonga and his girlfriend, also appeared in court. He arrived at the Taguig MTC before 9 a.m.

Meanwhile, the court junked the request of Cedric Lee and Simeon “Zimmer” Raz to extend their stay at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) compound in Manila.

Mallonga said the court on May 6 ordered the transfer of the two suspects to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) detention facility in Taguig City.

Because of this, Mallonga questioned the continued stay of Lee and Raz at the NBI facility.

The two accused have been detained at the NBI headquarters following their arrest in Eastern Samar on April 26.

Lee, Raz, Cornejo, Fernandez and Ferdinand Guerrero are facing serious illegal detention charges, a non-bailable offense, in connection with the mauling of Navarro.

They are also facing a separate grave coercion charge.

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