Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Hearing about Rod Cornejo’s interview with The BUZZ was like a splash of cold water. No one would make an immediate connection, even if he shared the same last name as Deniece Cornejo. I was fortunate enough to meet and photograph Rodrigo Cornejo who was also the Special Assistant to the Pres. in GMA Network some years back. I checked my own files and saw that I was able to shoot him with his grand niece Deniece Cornejo in 2010. As a teenager then she looked quite different.
Mr. Cornejo is always very personable and modest. In nearly all of the events that I saw him he was with his wife Vangie. He seemed exceptionally humble especially for someone who is in a lofty position in the biggest TV network in the country. I would learn later on that he has one of the most impeccable reputations in the broadcast industry.
Mr. Cornejo confessed that he was envious of my job as I got to see the best shows. We often compared notes if he had seen this or that musical or concert, where I’d usually photograph him. BUT I would consistently see him in film festivals much like PDI’s late publisher Isagani Yambot. They both have a genuine love for cinema especially Filipino independent cinema.
After reviewing his statement to THE BUZZ (transcribed by philnews.ph), it was only natural that he defends the honor of his grand niece. It IS true the perception of the public on Deniece is no longer ideal with accusations from the camp of Vhong Navarro flying and vice versa.
Rod has come to the defense of his grandniece in their accusation of rape against TV host and comedian Vhong Navarro. Public sympathies came to the side of Vhong after photos and video of him were posted online beaten black and blue by a certain Cedric Lee and his henchmen. And most recently with a video of Cedric smooching Deniece almost immediately after the ‘rape’ incident.
One thing that seems obvious in THE BUZZ statement is that Mr. Cornejo may be discounting the possibility that Cedric Lee may have manipulated his grandniece.
Could it be that Deniece just ran with the wrong crowd in Cedric Lee who has had a bad track record with women? Lee has had extra marital affairs with showbiz personalities Patricia Javier and Vina Morales (with whom he has a love child).
For anyone who knows Patricia Javier and Vina Morales both are very strong minded, independent women. If Lee could have an extra marital relationship with them with hints of physical and mental abuse, how difficult would it be for him to control Deniece? Yes, Deniece may also be a victim in all of this but not with Vhong as the culprit.
Young people are very impressionable. Deniece is just 22, she was just 18 when I photographed her in 2010. Cedric Lee has some very questionable history in his personal relationships and business dealings. Deniece has her parents abroad as Mr. Cornejo stated in the interview. She doesn’t have that objective voice or advice that may be able to discern the true nature and motives of someone like Cedric Lee. Instead of reinforcing the accusation of rape against Vhong, Mr. Cornejo should take a very close look at the ‘friendship’ of Deniece and Cedric.
I personally believe Mr. Cornejo’s pronouncements on Deniece’s character. He has put his unquestionable professional reputation on the line. That’s why he should be on the look out even more for the possibility that someone like Cedric Lee has wrongly influenced or even threatened her.