Summon ex-TRC chief, says Miriam
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate hearing on the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam may get another addition to its cast of characters.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Friday, February 21, filed an urgent resolution seeking to summon former Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Dennis Cunanan as a resource person in the ongoing investigation.
The resolution said:
"It is in the public's strong interest for Cunanan to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee's ongoing hearing on the PDAF scam; he can divulge information on the criminal involvement of certain public officials in the sam, and how the scam is perpetuated through the exploitation of loopholes in the disbursement of government funds."
Cunanan – one of the suspects in the PDAF scam – was declared a "provisional state witness" on Friday.
The development comes two weeks after socialite Ruby Tuason, who served as the social secretary of former president and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, was also granted the same status by the Department of Justice. (READ: Tuason: Key witness or Trojan horse?)
Santiago called Tuason a "perfect state witness" when she appeared before the Blue Ribbon committee's senate hearing on February 13.
Lawyer Levi Baligod, lead counsel of the pork barrel scam whistleblowers, earlier said Cunanan was willing to spill the beans on Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr's involvement in the PDAF scam.
Revilla is one of the senators being investigated for plunder and malversation – along with senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.
Baligod said Cunanan's testimony was crucial to establishing Revilla's involvement in the scam because he was able to get the senator to confirm the authenticity of his signatures for project endorsements to TRC over the phone.
Revilla has claimed that the signatures on the documents were forged. (READ: Luy faked Revilla letter to COA – lawyer)
In her resolution, Santiago said "all due haste must be made to encourage eyewitness to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, in order to enlighten and educate the public on the methodologies and strategies of corruption."
The Supreme Court earlier declared the pork barrel fund of lawmakers as unconstitutional. - Angela Casauay/Rappler.com