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The Case of Denise Cornejo and Cedric Lee, a Litmus Test for Pnoy and Philippine Justice

ow that the star attraction in the alleged Vhong Navarro rape incident is in police custody, the upcoming trial will be a litmus test for the Aquino administration as well as the Courts. The almost universal perception is that Philippine justice is broken and does not work. Laws are applied inequitably with the wealthy and powerful living almost above the law, while the common "tao" finds himself at the losing end of cases that usually drag on for years.
Denise Cornejo (center) accompanied by relatives surrenders to authorities
The rash of killings by motorcycle riding guns-for-hire is but one unfortunate consequence of the country's stalled judicial system. Victims who find it impossible to obtain justice through the courts take matters into their own hands by hiring hit men to "make things right." And the poor and dispossessed in far-flung regions of the country grow sympathetic to groups like the New People's Army (NPA) who can give them the justice denied them by the local as well as national government.

All these contribute to the perception of lawlessness that is eroding the image of the country both domestically and internationally. And in today's globalized world where most information is just a few keystrokes away, foreigners, be they investors or tourists read about the Philippines and decide it best to stay Denise Cornejo on her way to a detention cell to await trial. Her offense she is charged with is non-bailable under Philippine lawaway—especially when there are now so many alternatives elsewhere.

This administration and the judiciary must therefore seize every opportunity to show the world that things are changing for the better. Fairness and real justice must be replanted back into the country and allowed to take root and grow. Court cases should be resolved quickly and not allowed to languish for years as they do now.  

The upcoming trial of Denise Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al. should showcase the fact that Philippine justice does indeed work. If found guilty, the perpetrators should be locked up as common criminals; if innocent they should be immediately set free.

The Ampatuan Massacre, which has been stuck in legal limbo since 2009, is already a black stain on the presidency, the judiciary, and the country as a whole. If a similar fate is allowed to befall the Cornejo, Lee trial than trust for the country will take another big hit and further reinforce the notion that Philippine justice simply doesn't work. Published 05/6/2014

Archived Comments

Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.83.179.172

Comments

The late surrender of Miss Cornejo is a well-orchestrated act.. with no make-up, plain black dress, & appearing like an innocent virgin. Unlike Cedric Lee who's constantly & arrogantly smirking in front of the cameras. As if saying 'go ahead, make my day.' Both of them are trying hard to get bail. Damn right, it will be a litmus test of our slow-moving justice system. If they could bring these guilty parties to be prosecuted & send to jail, then, the trust of our people will be restored. Otherwise, it will another Ampatuan case marinating in the courts since 2009. Let's hope that this time the right things be done & pursue this case to the full extent of the law. Otherwise, it's inutile & a show or sham with no ending. Crime does not pay.


Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA County, CA USA
IP Address: 98.112.130.24

Comments

Re: The Ampatuan mass murder--This case is an example of lack of leadership..As this case was very prominent in the world due to the involvement of CNN, our Congress should have passed a special law to create a special court which would hear only the Ampatuan case. If you schedule the hearings daily Monday to Friday it should not take One year to finish hearing the testimonies of witnesses so this case should have been adjudicated a long time ago the massacre was in 2009 during the time of GMA now it is 2014. As it is, the lawyers want to delay as they continue to collect their appearance fees. In the meantime some witnesses have been killed others are afraid to testify..only in the P.I


Name: Hit&Run
City/State/Country: ONTHEROAD
IP Address: 98.91.3.232

Comments

Whoever thinks that Philippine justice works must have been in hibernation since Spain ceded the country for a mere sum to the US. Better yet, must have seen the light of day just today. Like someone had always contended with someone that Filipinos still exist under a feudal system of justice.


Name: Edward
City/State/Country: Angeles City
IP Address: 120.29.72.66

Comments

This rape case and all the others crimes talked about in this editorial just shows that what the country needs is a Matt Dillon from Gun Smoke. It's the wild west here and you might as well bring a real law man to Dodge City. Money isn't everything here it's the only thing. Again everyone on this site will say the same thing, what we need are honest politicians, police, judges and thing will change. My take on improving things would be to put the country in care taker status. Ask the UN to over see the justice system. Of course that would be an embarrassment to the country and president but what else is left to do.


Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA County, CA USA
IP Address: 98.112.130.24

Comments

Re: Your editorial: "Court cases should be resolved quickly and should not be allowed to languish for years as they do now" xxx. A very big case in point is the Ampatuan massacre where 70 or more people were executed in 2009. This was covered by CNN , I thought because the the international coverage the malefactors would be convicted in a very short time... wrong .. It is now 2014 while the killings occurred in 2009 it is about 5 years. To think that many of those who were shot were TV, Radio & print media people. With these kinds of cases the PI is a place to be avoided by tourists. There is a lack of leadership in government and in the private sector. Where are the civic leaders? No wonder Filipinos continue on emigrating to the USA, Canada and even Haiti.


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 46.57.115.22

Comments

Sila Cedric, Denice and Co. ay nakapagbigay din ng aral sa lahat ng mayayabang. Nagpapatunay na wala ng malakas sa NBI o PNP di gaya noon na kapag mayaman at nakapagsuhol ng milyon ay abswelto na. Sana magtuloy-tuloy na ang tamang takbo at hindi ningas kugon. Mahusay at tapat sa trabaho si De Lima. Huag nating huhusgahan si PNoy ng maling akusasyon ng walang katibayan. Nararamdaman ng mga tao ang tapat o hinding pamamalakad. Maaayos ang problema sa bansa at uunlad din huag lang tayong sagabal gaya ng mga ginagawa ng kalaban. Magsaya tayo at may nagmamalasakit na sa atin na gaya ni PNoy. Ay naku, magagalit na naman si Mr. Hate!


Name: Manoy D Oragon
City/State/Country: Oregon
IP Address: 121.54.92.138

Comments

When the media puts on the front page political scandals, sex scandals, targeted assassinations etc. Readers will easily form the opinion that ours is a lawless country. Even in this forum we highlight them. Once high profile cases remained unresolved the media has something always to write about. The infamous Maguindanao massacre is still active since 2009. The Hayden Kho- Halili case went nowhere. Now comes Deniece Cornejo rape case and the beating of Vhong Navarro. The PDAF is being hyped and the drama continues. Can we not debate on something more challenging cerebrally? Like for instance if Congress and DOJ are still relevant in our lives? Are INC and the Catholic Bishops a positive factor in our existence as a nation - an asset or a liability?


Name: SOMEONE
City/State/Country: USA
IP Address: 74.77.39.188

Comments

I disagree that this Tabloid Case is the litmus test for Aquino and PHL justice. The litmus test to me is the case of the murderous Ampatuan clan and the Plunder cases against the rich and powerful politicians. This Cornejo case is too middling and dripping with soap drama they should serialize it in one of their telenovelas. I think that if we elevate this story of cheap sex and goons, we would be diminishing the country's values for justice, which by the way has already been diminished tragically through the years.


Name: Manoy D Oragon
City/State/Country: Oregon
IP Address: 121.54.92.138

Comments

JRH: Lee, Cornejo etc. involved in the mauling and detention of Vhong might have acted on their own ( conspired if I may) or poorly advised by their lawyer Calleja. When suspects are indicted and go on a lam, the presumption is that they are guilty. They can't post a bail by nature of the charge against them and they are aware of that. This guy Lee is a slimy dude that you can't trust. He is the same guy who went on TV and set the P1 million tab for the physical damage to the condo unit that never happened. Those who are now in jail should get an ankle monitor for the are a flight risks.


Name: Herman
City/State/Country: Germany
IP Address: 89.144.230.221

Comments

Litmus test for President Aquino? I dont think so, it is more likely the Justice/Supreme Court in particular. The persons involved in this case are not from the government sectors. They are celebrities, influential and well-heeled people, that attracts Filipino consciousness more than of any political cases. Court cases of common "tao" may take years to resolve because of lack of fame, influence and cash that may accelerate its procedures. I suppose that people who take the matter into their hands are not seeking justice, rather to breathe vengeance. If this rape case will resolve faster than of Ampatuans´, pork barrel, and other political cases, then I may conclude there's something wrong in the Philippines judicial system. Lets wait and see....


Name: As I See It
City/State/Country: CebuCity/SanDiego,CA
IP Address: 107.217.12.124

Comments

The PNL editorial says, "Laws are applied inequitably with the wealthy and powerful living almost above the law, while the common "tao" finds him-self at the losing end of cases that usually drag on for years." MY TAKE: I agree 101%. And if I may add, VHONG NAVARRO has really the bigger edge in his legal battle vs. Lee, Cornejo, et al for he has the BACKING of the giant network ABS-CBN, in which this chicboy Vhong is gainfully employed. I have seen Kabayan (Noli de Castro) newscasting in a way he's already sort of presuming Mr. Navarro as innocent while Lee, Cornejo, et al as guilty! PALAKASAN pa rin.


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 142.134.140.124

Comments

In prioritizing current cases in the court dockets, the Cornejo-Lee case would not be, in my estimation, in the premiere position for immediate and speedy attention. I firmly believe that the Maguindanao massacre because of the extent. duration, and gravity of the crime demands an earlier and faster resolution. Next to it would be the pork barrel scams because these cases challenge the political and justice systems of the country.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.83.179.172

Comments

Any additional comments or statements will be pure speculation & guess-work this time. We simply must wait for further developments. The next few weeks will be crucial. Their lawyers are preparing, at the highest level, the best defence strategy for the accused. Miss Cornejo is being schooled or coached on how to act like an innocent victim. It's calculated & well-rehearsed before surrendering. She's playing that part to gain symphaty complete with baseball cap to avoid eye contact & full exposure & a well-placed bandana to cover the handcuffs. It's still very deceptive & conning ever since she claim rape in a nano-second in that apartment. She's a phony.


Name: Edong Mapangarap
City/State/Country: Bayang Maluhain
IP Address: 38.88.177.203

Comments

Editorial's GEM --"All these contribute to the perception of lawlessness that is eroding the image of the country both domestically and internationally. " PERCEPTION!?! Is it not the more fitting word would be "REALITY"!


Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA County, CA USA
IP Address: 98.112.130.24

Comments

RE: Litmus test for the Pnoy admin?. I disagree this is a very minor case. The reason it has a lot of publicity is that Bhong Navarro is a popular TV and movie actor and Cedric Lee has been in the public notice because he appears to be notorious..The test of the Pnoy admin is the three amigos JPE, Jonggoy and Bong Revilla.. As I wrote before 2 former Presidents had been detained for facing Plunder cases, the same as these 3 senators so . Right now Jinggoy & Bong Navarro have Petitions pending in the SC to stop the filing of the cases with the Sandiganbayan. With the publicity I doubt that majority of the SC Justices would just ignore the work already done the the Dept of Justice and the Ombudsman


Name: Hit&Run
City/State/Country: ONTHEROAD
IP Address: 98.91.3.232

Comments

If this editorial is searching for answers as to why Philippine justice is neutered and almost reduced to a negative in effectiveness, look no farther than the Filipino himself. Stuck in his comfort zone, he has nothing to offer but prefer to look the other way as long as he has 2 or 3 daily square meals. His motto: Sing and dance now and complain later.


Name: Manuel C. Diaz
City/State/Country: Montclair CA USA
IP Address: 76.90.62.96

Comments

Ex Congressman Eceo convicted of murdering his wife in hiding in Dinagat Island, Gen, Palparan wanted for human rights violation at large and the NBI, Police and the DOJ cannot locate them. Here comes Cornejo et.al. accused of mauling an oversexed mediocre comedian Vhong Navarro and the NBI, police and DOJ pouring all their resources to arrest Cornejo et. al. The crime of Cornejo was having oral sex with Vhong Navarro. Unless the NBI, Police and DOJ classify that as a heinous crime then the NBI, police and DOJ are justified in pouring all the resources for the arrest of Cornejo. Philippine Justice "sucks"


Name: Manoy D Oragon
City/State/Country: Oregon
IP Address: 121.54.92.138

Comments

There is no litmus test here with the Cornejo- Navarro case as it is but a simple criminal case. The victim was detained and abused with the intention of extracting money. This was a case of a mestizo Chinese with connection with the NBI who thinks he has police authority. Lee and company simply committed a crime that needed to be punished by society. A test is when this type of criminal act has never been tried in court before. Perhaps the real test here is how far money influences justice. P-Noy has nothing to do with this. It is the justice system that is being tested.


Name: Steve R
City/State/Country: California
IP Address: 98.234.22.41

Comments

The Philippine justice system can be compared to a motorist driving on the road with bumps and pot holes. The Ampatuan Massacre and the P10 billion scam can be liken to bumps. The Navarro case against Cornejo, Lee et al. is pot holes. The battered face of Vhong Navarro and alleged reasons why and how he got it, and who mauled him took off like a wild fire in terms of public disgust and concerns. Few days after the alleged rape case against Navarro became public, the NBI provided the public with the chronological event of CCTV showing the suspects entering and living the condo’s elevator. Bingo, the public practically exploded, myself included but pot holes are much easier to fix if you know what I mean.


Name: Vik
City/State/Country: TARLAC CITY, RP
IP Address: 110.54.141.84

Comments

While she claims of getting raped, she would NOT subject herself to medical scrutiny to solidify and bolster her allegations. CCTV footages tell a different story. And these horde of moneyed Oplan Bugbog premeditators planned, set up and executed their schematic ops with her cooperation.. what a bunch of bible swearing hypocrites, big time legal process to lie to obfuscate the truth..this is RP's Christianized and bastardized hypocrisy at its best...


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 142.134.138.246

Comments

Everyday the wheels of justice seem to drag agonizingly slow while routine happenings of daily living continue to confront the ever restive Philippines society. The Filipinos are impatient and clamor for a positive positive result. They have seen enough of the public scams, the rising criminality, the abhorrent disparity between rich and poor and they pray for relief from all and everything. Final conviction of these cases will set everything in motion and will pave the way for the country's inevitable turn around.


Name: Manoy D Oragon
City/State/Country: Oregon
IP Address: 121.54.92.138

Comments

The prosecuting arm of the government is the weakest link in the whole judicial system of the country. It is quick in accusing but weak in proving its case.


Name: deo
City/State/Country: flour-flower city
IP Address: 66.67.22.202

Comments

No one is going to jail; no one is going to be tried in this showbiz case. Check this out: One of the convict that lead to the "partial" solving of Aquino (the elder) murder case a few days ago was "run over" by a van(?) they said. The relatives are not agrabiyado; they are not filing a case, so they said. Ang lagay eh ganoon lang? In this showbiz case, you think the victim is "agrabiyado"? Kapag sinupalpal ba siya ng limpak-limpak na aluminum centavo, ang lagay eh. But on both cases the govt. should jump in. They are criminal cases; they should take charge, the victims agrabiyado or not. With one of the main players of Aquino case is dead, does this mean closure of the case?


Name: Enteng D' Dragon
City/State/Country: Lupa ng Mahangin
IP Address: 38.88.177.203

Comments

Ed's hyperbole- "the upcoming trial will be a litmus test for the Aquino administration as well as the Courts. " Is so symptomatic about what is wrong with our society-- the penchant for "pa-drama" and misplaced societal priorities! HOW can an issue of nothing more than a case of human foible- with sexual undertone-- be considered a "Lithmus Test" for the "Aquino Admin and the court"? ANG Babaw naman!! There must be far more serious case/s that involve national issues that merits this kind of attention--- if there is none, then the Philippines, the Filipino people and the Aquino admin really has nothing to worry about!


Name: Edward
City/State/Country: Angeles City
IP Address: 120.29.72.66

Comments

Yap this girl was raped. Just like the girl that was raped by the US Marine back 7, 8 years ago. Talk about rape your government employees are raping Filipino women wanting to return to the Philippines from HK and Arab countries. They cannot get their visa stamped until they sleep with government officials. Has anyone gone to jail for this or EVAN lost their jobs. You demand the Chinese treat you fair well start barking about this injustice.


Name: Mark Williams
City/State/Country: LA, Ca
IP Address: 107.132.220.67

Comments

Who cares about Cedric Lee? The Philippines is in a crisis from the Napoles revelations and Philnews is talking about Lee? Where have you been?


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 46.57.67.49

Comments

The most important in life is respect and love for God. Dennis Lee and Cornejo were disrespectful and prefer to be in hell rather than be in paradise. God gave us free Will... may choose..good or evil. If we think we prefer Satan, be with him in fire. But, it is wonderful to feel happy with friends and relatives and with no enemies.. we can breath freely!


Name: Marcial Loo
City/State/Country: Singapore
IP Address: 220.255.1.94

Comments

There is no need to subject any high or low profile criminal case in the Philippine to any litmus case. It will never pass the test. The prosecution is the weakest link in the entire legal system. Other than that money and power make it worse. Litmus test you said? Who is kidding who?


Name: deo
City/State/Country: flour-flower city
IP Address: 66.66.203.16

Comments

Assuming this case of these showbiz people will go to trial, I'll bet my last aluminum centavo it will be aborted because the "right price" will be reached by the parties. We may have heard and read that the plaintiff will not agree to an "areglo" but it's only in the beginning. As I said, kapag tinambakan ba siya ng limpak-limpak na aluminum centavo...nanginginig pang ibubulsa agad niya ang atik. Or he could be "offered something that he can not refused". In Pinas, its just like in this dialog in the movie "you know amigo in our town a man kills for a peseta but you amigo I will kill you for no thing". And there are willing to "salvage" anybody "ingunguso" mo for a glass of tuba.


Name: mockingmaya
City/State/Country: taft avenue, manila
IP Address: 76.20.124.138

Comments

I do agree with the editor (PNL) that the upcoming trial of Vhong Navarro's rape case will be a litmus test for President Aquino's regime: the punishment of criminals (rapists, plunderers of public funds, tax evaders, terrorists, NPAs, etc.) in a society to which they belong. In fact, this is a perennial problem in any society. What is the essence of punishing criminals & plunderers of public fund? Does a corrupt senator or congressman deserve to be punished severely as a matter of justice? What is the purpose of the penal law? Do you think President Aquino is a wise statement or another useless popularly-elected politician? A great thinker once said that " the wise statesman is one who knows how to punish & prevent crimes."



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