A Cebu City judge on Monday dismissed the rape charges filed against singing champion Noven Belleza.
In open court, Judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 7 cited the complainant’s “lack of interest” in pursuing the case against Belleza.
“The court has noted the affidavit of desistance filed by the private complainant. However, notwithstanding (the complainant’s intent to withdraw the case), the court orders its dismissal due to the lack of interest on the part of the private complainant,” he said shortly after Belleza was arraigned.
Belleza, 22, pleaded not guilty to charges of rape by sexual assault during the court proceeding.
He was assisted by lawyer Frances Jan Villarino.
The 19-year-old teenage woman who claimed that she was sexually molested by Belleza at a condominium in Barangay Lahug last July 15 did not attend the proceedings.
She had filed an affidavit of desistance and asked the court to dismiss the case against the singer.
The woman said she was no longer interested in pursuing the case due to “inordinately adverse effects it brought to me and my family” and for her to attain “peace of mind.”
In an interview, Belleza was grateful that the court dropped the charges against him.
“Maraming mga pagsubok sa buhay, pero ang mga pagsubok na yan, hindi naman ibibigay ni Lord kung hindi natin kayang lampasan (There are many trials in life, but God will not give them to us if we could not overcome them),” he told reporters.
Belleza, a rice farmer from Negros Occidental, was the grand champion in last March’s “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” a talent search aired on ABS-CBN’s noontime program “It’s Showtime.”
Belleza was arrested by operatives of the Mabolo Police Station last July 15 after he performed as guest in a comedy concert of “Showtime” host Vice Ganda at the IEC Pavilion in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño found sufficient basis to indict Belleza on charges of rape by sexual assault.
Rape by sexual assault can be charged against a person who inserts, without consent, his or her fingers or any other object into the genitals of another person.
Based on the investigation of the police, Belleza and the victim knew each other and were textmates.
Belleza was released from police custody after he posted bail amounting to P120,000.