Actor Vhong Navarro has been cleared of rape and acts of lasciviousness charges filed by model Deniece Cornejo. The Supreme Court's (SC) 3rd Division has reversed and set aside the Court of Appeals' (CA) decision directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute Navarro for the charges.

Vhong Navarro
Image screengrab from YouTube. Credits to ABS-CBN Entertainment

The Court of Appeals had previously overturned the DOJ's decisions to dismiss Cornejo's 2014 complaint against Navarro due to discrepancies in her affidavits. Nevertheless, the SC declared that the CA had made a serious mistake in commanding the DOJ to revive the rape case despite Cornejo's inconsistencies.

The SC's ruling states, “Indeed, no amount of skillful or artful deportment, manner of speaking, or portrayal in a subsequent court proceeding could supplant Cornejo’s manifestly inconsistent and highly deficient, doubtful, and unclear accounts of her supposed harrowing experience in the hands of Navarro.”

Navarro was arrested last September and allowed to post bail of P1 million in December. Navarro returned to his hosting stint on Kapamilya noontime show It’s Showtime in January of this year.

The case against Navarro dates back to January 2014 when Cornejo filed a case against the actor for alleged sexual assault. Navarro asserted that he was the victim of an assault and extortion by Cornejo, businessman Cedric Lee, and their other accomplices. In contrast, Cornejo's side claimed that Navarro was injured after Lee and his companions caught him while he was trying to rape Cornejo.

Navarro's legal team welcomed the SC's ruling and said that the actor has suffered significant harm to his reputation and career due to the case. They added that they will continue to fight for justice for Navarro and will pursue charges against those who falsely accused him.

Cornejo's lawyer, on the other hand, expressed disappointment with the SC's decision, saying that it sends a message to other victims that they cannot rely on the justice system for protection.