“Cedric Lee Surrenders to NBI and Faces Up to 40 Years in Jail for Serious Illegal Detention”

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Businessman Cedric Lee Surrenders to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)

Businessman Cedric Lee voluntarily surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday night, following a guilty verdict by a Taguig court. Alongside Lee, Deniece Cornejo and two others were also found guilty of serious illegal detention. This development marks a significant turn in the long-standing legal battle surrounding the case.

NBI Takes Custody of Cedric Lee

NBI Director Medardo de Lemos confirmed that his agents took custody of Cedric Lee in Mandaluyong City at 7:30 p.m. The surrender came after Lee communicated his intention to surrender. He was subsequently brought to the NBI headquarters in Quezon City at 8 p.m., where his mug shot and fingerprints were taken.

Lee’s Decision to Surrender

Cedric Lee stated that he decided to surrender while his lawyers prepared his appeal before the appellate court. He emphasized that they would “appeal and exhaust all legal remedies.” Lee maintained that no illegal detention of television host and movie actor Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro took place, as none of the elements of the said crime were present. According to Lee, Navarro was never detained for more than a day, and no serious injuries were inflicted upon him.

The Guilty Verdict and Sentencing

In a 94-page decision, Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 153 Presiding Judge Mariam Bien found Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo, Ferdinand Guerrero, and Simeon Palma Raz Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of serious illegal detention with ransom, as filed by Navarro in 2014. Judge Bien sentenced the four individuals to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, which equates to up to 40 years of jail time.

Immediate Actions Taken by the RTC

During the promulgation, only Cornejo and Guerrero were present. The RTC immediately canceled the bail posted for their provisional liberty and ordered them to be committed to jail. Additionally, the RTC ordered the convicts to pay Navarro P100,000 in civil indemnity, P100,000 in moral damages, and P100,000 in exemplary damages with an interest rate of 6 percent per annum from the finality of the judgment until fully paid.

Prison Facilities for the Convicted Individuals

Cedric Lee and his two male co-accused will be incarcerated in a prison facility outside of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. explained that the NBP is no longer accepting new inmates due to an ongoing decongestion program. As a result, the NBP chief has been tasked with determining the location where Lee and his co-accused will be committed. It is important to note that the commitment order for Lee has yet to be received.

Furthermore, Catapang revealed that Simeon Palma Raz Jr. is already at the Reception and Diagnostic Center of the NBP in Muntinlupa City, while Deniece Cornejo has been admitted to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City.

These recent developments mark a significant step forward in the legal proceedings surrounding the serious illegal detention case involving Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo, and others. As the legal process continues, it remains to be seen how the appeals and subsequent actions will unfold.

Source: The Manila Times

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