‘Tawag ng Tangahalan’ champion accused of rape in Cebu

File photo by Michael Bagtas, ABS-CBN News

Noven Belleza, the grand champion of season one of popular noontime singing competition Tawag ng Tanghalan was arrested in Cebu for allegedly raping a female teenager.

Entertainment news website Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) confirmed the arrest in a phone call with a Cebu precinct chief.

“You know the suspect, but I cannot give the specifics,” Chief Inspector Jacinto Mandal Jr, head of the Mabolo police precinct told PEP in a phone interview.

Belleza was in Cebu as a special performer for a concert with comedian Vice Ganda for a concern called “Pusuan Mo si Vice Ganda sa Cebu” (Heart Vice Ganda in Cebu).

According to the report in local newspaper Banat News, the incident happened early morning of July 15 at the condo where Belleza was staying.

The alleged victim, a local performer, was a friend of the singer. “I wasn’t expecting him to do that to me because he’s a nice guy, but I also won’t allow him to just abuse me like that,” PEP quoted the alleged victim.

The family of the victim said they also would not allow the singer to negotiate for a settlement instead of facing the rape charges. “We don’t want him to victimize anyone else, that’s why we will push for the case to end up in court to get justice for what he did to my daughter.”

He was arrested after the concert on Saturday and is still under hospital arrest in Cebu pending charges and declined to give a statement to local media on the accusations.

Belleza, a farmer from Negros Occidental, became the first grand champion on the show last March.

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