Tuason not privy to Malampaya fund scam
MANILA, Philippines – Whistleblower Ruby Tuason denied any direct knowledge of the Malampaya fund scam and said she did not benefit from it.
At the Senate blue ribbon committee on Thursday, February 13, Tuason said it was her deceased brother Remy Chan who had knowledge of the Malampaya scam, although she admitted that kickbacks from it were delivered to her home. (READ: Tuason drags dead brother into Malampaya scam)
Tuason recalled that she was approached by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, who asked her if she knew anyone in Malacañang. According to the affidavit she submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), this was sometime in 2009, under the Arroyo government.
At that time, Tuason – who was married to Butch Tuason, the first cousin of then first gentleman Mike Arroyo – told the Senate she was not on good terms with the two, after she burned all her husband's clothes and possessions over a falling out.
"Because of what I did, they were shocked, I myself was shocked, so they were upset with me," she said.
Tuason said because she didn't know who to reach out to in Malacañang, she asked her brother if he knew anyone. He told her he would try to find someone.
"I guess my brother wanted to make some extra money," Tuason said.
After a few weeks, Tuason said Chan told her he found someone in the Palace who could help. "I asked who, and he said, Attorney Jess Santos," she recalled.
When asked if it was the same Jess Santos who was Arroyo's lawyer and spokesperson, Tuason said she was not sure.
"I presume that's the one," she said. Tuason admitted, however, that she had only met that particular Santos once in the 1970s. (READ: Mike Arroyo lawyer linked to Malampaya fund scam)
Drop-off and pick-up
Soon after, Tuason said Chan asked her if it was okay if money would be delivered to her house in high-end Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.
"I said okay, because he's my brother," Tuason explained.
She said money was soon brought to her residence from Napoles' company, JLN Corporation, by Napoles' staff. She said she did not remember who exactly delivered the money.
Tuason admitted to receiving the money sometimes "when my brother was not around." But Tuason insisted she did not know from what project the money came from.
"When I started asking what it was, [my brother] said this is the one from Jenny, from DAR [Department of Agrarian Reform]," she said.
In her affidavit, Tuason said it was only later that she realized the money was in connection with the Malampaya fund diverted to the DAR supposedly to help farmers affected by the successive typhoons in 2009.
Tuason also could not give any specific amounts as to how much was delivered to her home, adding "the money did not last long with us."
Her affidavit also says after each delivery, Chan would "call someone and immediately after, it will be picked up.” She said she did not know who picked up the money.
Tuason supposedly got the biggest windfall from the Malampaya fund mess amounting to P242 million. Napoles reportedly obtained P900 million.
As it is, the P900 million proceeds from the Malampaya Fund is the biggest single contract cornered by Napoles since she began siphoning off government funds to dubious NGOs. (READ: How the Malampaya fund was plundered)
The Malampaya fund consists of royalties collected from operations of the Malampaya gas and oil fields in the waters off Palawan province. - Rappler.com