The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday released the footage taken from closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) of Forbeswood Heights Condominium in Taguig City where Vhong Navarro was beaten up by a group of men led by businessman Cedric Lee.
NBI assistant regional director Vicente de Guzman, head of the investigating team in the case, said the CCTV videos support the testimony of Navarro, who denied that he attempted to rape Deniece Cornejo inside her unit at the second floor of the building on January 22.
Lee has claimed in several interviews that he saw Navarro on top of Cornejo in her room, prompting him to beat up the TV host-actor and conduct a citizen’s arrest.
However, the CCTV footage shows that after Navarro entered the condo, Cornejo quickly left leaving Navarro behind in the unit. Lee and several others then enter the condominium.
“Ang mga ebidensya po natin apart from the testimony of Vhong Navarro, is the video itself. Dito po nagtutugma yung testimony ni Mr. Vhong Navarro with that of what we saw in the CCTV,”de Guzman said.
De Guzman noted that only about a minute after Navarro went inside the condominium building at 10:38 p.m., Cornejo was seen going out, supposedly leaving behind the “It’s Showtime” host inside her unit.
It was only after several minutes that Cornejo was seen going back inside the condominium and riding the elevator up to the second floor, where her unit was located.
During that time when Cornejo was outside, Lee and at least five other men were seen entering the building then riding the elevator also up to the second floor.
At 11:12 p.m., Navarro, who was already beaten up and whose hands were tied behind his back, was seen riding the elevator from the second floor of the building along with Lee and the other men as well as Cornejo and Lee’s sister, Bernice Lee.
Citing the CCTV footage, the NBI presented a timeline of the circumstances around the time the TV host-actor was mauled inside Cornejo’s condominium unit.
Before presenting the CCTV footage taken at the condo’s elevator, the NBI noted that the time stamp at the elevator’s CCTV was not synchronized with the time at the lobby’s CCTV.
The time at the elevator’s CCTV was 40 minutes late compared to the real time at the lobby’s CCTV.
Footage taken from the CCTV camera at the building’s lobby showed Navarro entering the condominium alone at 22:38 p.m. or 10:38 p.m. of January 22.
He entered the elevator and went up to the second floor of the building at 10:39 p.m. (9:59 in elevator’s CCTV time).
At 10:40 p.m., Cornejo was seen riding the elevator towards the first floor and leaving the condominium.
At 10:41 p.m., a man identified as Lee entered the building. Lee then rode the elevator and went out also at the second floor at 10:43 p.m. (10:03 in elevator CCTV’s time).
At that time, the NBI stressed that Cornejo had already left Navarro inside her unit, which means Lee could not have witnessed Navarro on top of her in her room as the businessman has alleged in several interviews.
“I think it’s not possible yung sinasabi nilang attempt to rape Ms. Cornejo… Kasi po very glaring dito sa ating footage na there was no incident na si Deniece was inside that room,” de Guzman said.
At 10:43 p.m., just two minutes after Lee arrived, two men, one of them wearing a white shirt and glasses identified as Ferdinand Guerrero, also entered the condo and went up the second floor.
Just seconds after that, Cornejo was seen going back to the building. While she was talking to a security guard, Bernice Lee and another man yet to be identified were seen at the door.
Accompanied by the security guard, Cornejo, Bernice and another man then left the building again.
At 10:48 p.m., a man who Navarro identified only as alias “Mike” entered the condo. He also rode the elevator towards the second floor.
The next person to go inside the building was Bernice at 10:56 p.m. However, she was not seen riding the elevator. The NBI said she might have used the stairs instead when she went up the second floor.
At 10:59 p.m., Lee and his sister Bernice entered the elevator, went down the first floor and left the condo.
Lee and Bernice went back to the condo building at 11:01 p.m., already with Cornejo.
At 11:02 p.m. (10:22 in elevator CCTV’s time), the three again went up to the second floor.
At 11:13 p.m. (10:33 in elevator CCTV’s time), a tied-up Navarro was seen entering the elevator accosted by two men, who were both not seen in the elevator’s CCTV footage earlier.
The NBI suspects these two men, one of them identified as bodybuilder Zimmer Rance, were already inside Cornejo’s unit when Navarro arrived.
Navarro, Rance and the other still unidentified man were followed inside the elevator by Lee, Mike and another still unidentified man, then Cornejo, Bernice and Guerrero.
All in all, there were 8 suspects in the case, including Cornejo and Lee, the NBI said.
At 11:13 p.m., Navarro and the eight others were seen walking at the lobby towards the door.
The CCTV at the condo’s main gate, meanwhile, showed all of them leaving at 11:14 p.m. After that, the NBI said they rushed to a car and proceeded towards the Southern Police District (SPD) where the suspects filed a blotter against Navarro for allegedly attempting to rape Cornejo.
Navarro, for his part, on Tuesday filed charges of serious physical injuries, grave threat, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, blackmail and serious illegal detention, which is a non-bailable offense, against Lee, Cornejo and his other attackers.