Deniece Cornejo is wishing for a couple of things on her 23rd birthday–the most important of which is that she can finally seek justice against actor-TV host Vhong Navarro for allegedly raping her twice last January.
Deniece spent her 23rd birthday last June 1 inside the detention cell of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City. This is in relation to the serious illegal detention case filed against her and her cohorts by Vhong Navarro.
Serious illegal detention is a non-bailable offense.
But even though Deniece had to celebrate her birthday behind bars, she is nonetheless happy because she can feel the support of her family. They all went to the detention facility to have a simple celebration. Deniece said this celebration is more special because it was the first time her family brought her balloons again ever since her 7th birthday.
In the past, her birthday celebrations have always been spent inside malls and restaurants with her family and friends.
Aside from seeking justice against Vhong, Deniece also wishes that she can still continue her goals in life. After all, she is very young and she wants to be happy again.
Deniece, a former model and stylist, also wants to be an inspiration to Filipino women and even men.
She is also happy during her birthday celebration because all her family were there. “Yung gusto nila ikaw kamustahin. And iba yung meaning ng pagpunta nila doon sa kaarawan mo, e.”
Deniece thinks this past birthday is more meaningful than all the others.
Meanwhile, the model-stylist was surprised when she was visited by Roxanne Cabanero, the second woman who filed a rape complaint against Vhong. Deniece said she didn’t expect Roxanne’s visit, and that she finds her pretty as well.
“Kahit hindi niyo pa pinag-usapan yung nangyari sa amin sa isa’t isa, kasi iba yung ‘pag hinawakan mo yung kamay ng tao, kapag nagkatinginan kayo sa mata na parang, ‘Naintindihan kita, naintindihan kita.’”
They are each other’s support system now, Deniece said, adding that she feels she has someone on her side when Roxanne visited her.
In the past, Deniece and Cedric Lee, one of the accused in the case, said that more women will come out against Vhong. Deniece, however, said they weren’t talking about Roxanne that time.
“When you open a fire, people will come to you na ito yung mga naging cause ng mga fire. You know what I mean? Na nung nangyari sa akin yun, may mga taong hindi ko ini-expect na lumapit.”
According to Deniece, she told Roxanne to just believe that God will save them and that they will be able to survive this trial.
She believes that she will win the fight against Vhong since it’s not only about the individual, but about how Philippine society views rape and its victims.
Deniece said there’s a reason why she is behind bars now.