With the recent revelation of new and varying statements by Vhong Navarro's alleged rape victims Deniece Cornejo and Roxanne Cabanero, Atty. Lorna Kapunan gives her legal opinion as to how their gestures might tarnish their credibility as complainants.
Last February 27, Cabanero's lawyer Atty. Virgilio Batalla claimed that his client's complaint-affidavit didn't mention the date when the alleged sexual assault took place. Atty. Batalla reacted on the recent affidavit filed by Vice Ganda, saying that Navarro was among the guest performers of his concert held in Island Cove, Cavite in April 24, 2010, the same night when Cabanero claimed that she was raped by the comedian somewhere in Pasig.
"Pwedeng two sides 'yun eh kasi kung totoong rape victim ka at traumatized hindi mo na maaalala except that the other side there is hindi mo makakalimutan ang araw na ni-rape ka. ‘Di ba? Hindi pwedeng papalit-palit ka,” Atty. Kapunan explained.
"There are material dates that you cannot forget, for instance the day that you were raped. It's very material to you kaya hindi mo pwedeng sabihin na 'Ay nagkamali ako ng date' dapat patunayan nila, ni Roxanne o ng lawyer niya na talagang traumatized siya," said Atty. Kapunan.
According to her Cabanero's state could be verified. She even suggested, "Hindi lang naman siya mag-isa ‘di ba meron siyang roommates kasi may beauty contest so dapat vinerify muna nila 'pag nag-verify sila ng dates."
On Atty. Howard Calleja's presumption that his client Cornejo's recently-filed affidavit stating that she was raped twice by Navarro won't raise any conflict in their case, Atty. Kapunan believes otherwise.
Cornejo claimed in her new affidavit that Navarro forced himself on her the first time on January 17, during their first meeting inside her condo unit.
To this Atty. Kapunan said, "Hindi makakatulong 'yun because napupunta 'yan sa kredibilidad ng tao. Although sinasabi nila 'eh na-rape siya kaya siya na-traumatize' pwedeng mangyari 'yun pero meron tayong ebidensya na pinakita sa publiko 'yung CCTV tape. Na 'yung actuations ni Deniece sa CCTV tape eh hindi consistent sa isang na-rape."
She even added, "Kung 'yang theory nila eh rape eh bakit pa inimbita si Vhong Navarro at a second instance at nagte-text pa sila at parang friendly no? Kasi if you were raped the first time, bakit pa siya inimbita."
The main issue about Cornejo's new revelation according to Atty. Kapunan is that, "nagsabi ka na ng istorya mo under oath tapos nagpalit ka eh di it goes into the credibility o nung witness o nung complainant."
She underscored that changing your claims is not very ideal because "Ang huwes o judge eh hindi na maniniwala sa ‘yo unless may reasonable explanation kung bakit nagpalit ng storya kagaya ng traumatized o selective memory."
It may be recalled that Navarro's camp has already filed perjury and libel charges against Cornejo and has expressed plans to file the same charges to Cabanero.
"Ang perjury nasa batas 'yan na when you issue a statement knowing the statement to be false or not the truth. Kung nagsabi ka ng hindi totoo at nag-swear ka under oath or an officer-in-charge? Kung hindi ka sigurado sabihin mo. Na 'based on my best recollection' kasi pwede kang kasuhan ng perjury," explained the expert lawyer.
More, Atty. Kapunan added that perjury may also come in a different scenario.
"Perjury kung nagkamali ka at pinalitan mo ang istorya mo making an untruthful statement in affidavit, preso rin 'yun ng maximum of six years imprisonment or six months.”
Libel on the other hand she says is when a person says something to damage the honor and reputation of another person.
"Libelous 'yun when you're making false, malicious and misleading statement that has a tendency to cause dishonor, discredit of a person or charging a false crime against a person. Kaya lang kailangan mapatunayan ng kampo ni Vhong na hindi totoo 'yung sinasabi ni Deniece at ang talagang intensyon nila ay sirain ang reputation ng isang Vhong Navarro. Imprisonment rin 'yun," explained Atty. Kapunan.
While she asks the public to give the two ladies the "benefit of the doubt" since "napakahirap na ikaw ay lumabas at [sabihin] na ikaw ay na-rape" she underscored that "'Wag naman nating babuyin ang batas kasi ang kailangan lang malaman ng tao kung ano ang totoo at those who should be penalized ang dapat lang parusahan eh parusahan na. 'Wag nang palakihin ang circus na ito."