MANILA, Philippines – Atty. Mon Esguerra, a criminal law expert, believes that beating up actor and TV host Vhong Navarro was wrong even if the attackers caught him in the act of trying to r**e a model inside a condominium unit in The Fort Global City, Taguig City.
The lawyer said “reasonable force” should have been used to repel Navarro, if indeed, it was true that he was trying to r**e the girl and had tried to fight Cedric Lee and company.
“Yung pambubugbog for attempted r**e, sa akin, you cannot correct a wrong with another wrong. Kung totoong may attempted r**e, magdemanda siya ng attempted r**e. Pero ‘yung bugbugin mo at halos mapatay mo ang isang tao, sa pagkakataong ito, sa akin ay ‘di tama,” he said.
(Beating [a person] for attempted r**e, for me, you cannot correct a wrong with another wrong. If it is true that there was an attempted r**e, then she should file an attempted r**e case. But beating up a person and almost killing him, in that instance, for me is not right.)
Esguerra also said proper procedure should be followed in a situation where a person is enforcing a warrantless arrest.
He added that any arresting officer should first identify himself before making the arrest.
However, Esguerra said that the person making the arrest “cannot manhandle the accused or the suspect.”
The lawyer also said that he is not sure if reasonable force was applied against Navarro as the actor said he was beaten up by several men.
In the said interview, Esguerra also gave importance to 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 [It’s not right for me],” he said.
The lawyer voiced out that he prefers another law enforcement division to investigate the case of Navarro, since there are reports that Lee allegedly has links to officials in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“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 [it seems the alleged attacker got connections on both the police and NBI],” he said.
Esguerra suggested that Navarro could file a case of serious illegal detention against Lee and company if, indeed, it was true that he was tied up and beaten up by the group.
He said there will be “qualifying circumstance of serious physical injuries” while he was being detained.
On the other hand, Esguerra also said that the alleged victim could also file a complaint against the actor if, indeed, an attempted r**e was committed by the actor. However, the lawyer 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 ba ng pwersa si Vhong? If there is no force or intimidation upon the attempted r**e victim, how can you call it r**e?” he asked.
“[They said there was shouting]. It is the claim of the persons with Cornejo. They have to prove it,” he added.