Chito Roño says 'justice prevailed' in Vhong Navarro rape case dismissal

MANILA, Philippines – Chito S. Roño said that “justice has prevailed” with the dismissal of the rape and attempted rape charges against his talent Vhong Navarro.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) denied Deniece Cornejo’s petition for review, standing by its earlier decision that there is no sufficient evidence to support her case.  (READ: Vhong Navarro thankful for dismissal of rape complaints)

Ever since naniniwala akong walang kaso, ginulo lang siya (Ever since, I've always believed there was no case. They were just harassing him),” Roño said during the press conference for his new movie Signal Rock on Thursday, July 26. 

Kasi kilala ko si Vhong. Wala naman siyang tendency na mangganoon. Hinarass lang siya. Unang-una talaga, pinagkakaperahan lang talaga kami. Kami, tahimik na lang tayo kasi tapos na ang kaso. Ayoko nang mag-ingay. Pero siyempre si Vhong masaya. Opinyon ko lang ‘yun. Siya [Vhong] alam kong masaya rin siya,” the director said.

(I know Vhong. He does not have any tendency to do that. They're just harassing him. First of all, they're just trying to get money from us. On our part, we'll just keep quiet because the case is over. I don't want to say anything else. But of course, Vhong is happy. That's my opinion. He is also happy as far as I know.)

Looking back, Roño can only describe the whole ordeal as “disturbing.” While he believed that Navarro is not guilty, the director admitted that they worried about the case when it got reopened under the new administration.

The powers that be, di ba? ‘Yung una na-dismiss pa tapos noong mag-change ng administration, nag-change lahat. Ninerbiyos kami kasi maraming malapit kay Presidente na nasa DOJ na ngayon. We’re lucky that really, justice prevailed. Kung anong linaw ng kaso noon naging malinaw rin ngayon. ‘Di nila na-corrupt ‘yung sistema,” he said.

(The powers that be, right? The first one was dismissed after the administration changed. We got nervous because there were so many who were close to the President who are now in the DOJ. We're lucky that really, justice prevailed. The case was clear then and remains clear now. The didn't corrupt the system.)

In 2014, Cornejo claimed that she was sexually abused by Navarro. However, the DOJ, in its September 2017 ruling, found several inconsistencies in her statements, noting that her stories changed each time. The charges were soon dismissed because of Cornejo’s “very serious credibility issue.”

Despite the good news they received, Roño revealed that they wouldn’t go out of their way to celebrate the win.

“We don’t celebrate such things. Salamat na lang na (We're thankful that ) justice prevailed. This is no cause for celebration," he said.

He added: "Ang tagal din namin na tiniis 'yun, tahimik lang kami. Si Vhong pa napaka-behaved. Di naman nang-aaway ‘yun. So, wala na kaming ginawa, nagpasalamat na lang kami."

(We really had to suffer for a long time and we were just quiet. Vhong is so behaved.  He doesn't fight with anyone.  So we did not do anything anymore and we're just thankful.)

Following the incident, he shared that Navarro has adopted a more vigilant attitude when out in public.

Takot pa rin siya lumabas alam mo naman may kung anu-ano pa kaming naririnig  (He's still afraid to go out because of what he might hear)," Roño said.

He added: "Alam namin ‘yung parang track record kasi di ba…’yung nagbugbog sa kanya na mga goons talaga. So takot lang kami (We all know the track record because...he was beaten up by goons. So we're still afraid)." –