MANILA, Philippines – Ruby Tuason identified a former project coordinator of Senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and Loren Legarda as one of the “middlemen” used by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in her transactions with lawmakers.
Asked by Senator TG Guingona in a Senate probe Thursday, February 13, if she knew of any “other middlemen” in the Napoles transactions, Tuason said: “Maya Santos.”
Tuason was referring to Catherine Mae Santos, former undersecretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission Undersecretary and assistant secretary of the Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary during the Arroyo administration.
Santos also served as project coordinator of Senators Marcos and Legarda, according to one of the pork barrel scam whistleblowers, Marina Sula.
In an affidavit, Sula also said she saw Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Santos at the mausoleum of Napoles’ mother in Taguig. Sula was a former aide of Napoles.
Marcos previously admitted that Santos was detailed to his office from January 2012 to March 2013, but Legarda denied Santos had ever been her staff.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing Tuason’s testimony that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is pursuing leads related to Santos’ alleged involvement in anomalous pork barrel transactions.
Tuason clarified however that she did not know what Santos’ real role was. “Whether she’s a middleman or broker, I’m not sure.”
The Senate is looking into allegations that lawmakers pocketed government funds meant for livelihood and development projects. Three senators – Estrada, and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla – face plunder complaints before the Ombudsman over these allegations. It’s the biggest corruption scandal in the Philippines in recent history.
The complaints said Napoles paid these senators fat commissions in exchange for ghost government contracts given to her. – Rappler.com