MANILA, Philippines – If Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan is a clean government official, untarnished by corruption as he claims, then his lifestyle is not supporting that.
This is what Senator Jinggoy Estrada tried to prove in an hour-long privilege speech on Wednesday, March 12, as he cited Cunanan’s frequent leisure travels abroad and the expensive house that the TRC chief and his brother reportedly cannot afford.
The senator questioned why the justice department is considering Cunanan and self-confessed bagman Ruby Tuason as potential state witnesses despite what he called their “polluted and self-serving testimonies.” (READ: Full text: Jinggoy on ‘polluted’ witnesses Cunanan, Tuason)
Estrada faces a plunder complaint for allegedly funneling his pork barrel funds through agencies like the TRC to fake non-governmental organizations in exchange for kickbacks. Cunanan is also a respondent in that case. (READ: 38 charged in pork barrel scam)
Estrada debunked Cunanan’s claim that when he assumed leadership of the TRC in 2010, he blacklisted questionable NGOs and stopped the release of pork barrel funds. (READ: Cunanan’s TRC still got PDAF)
Earlier, principal whistleblower and only state witness Benhur Luy indicated that Cunanan got the almost P1 million that alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles asked him to prepare at their office. (READ: Cunanan, Luy clash on kickbacks)
Watch the full speech here:
Travels more frequently than senators
Estrada also rebutted Cunanan’s statement in a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing last week that he was able to travel abroad as an officer of the Junior Chamber International or Jaycees.
Citing records of the Bureau of Immigration, Estrada said Cunanan was able to travel 80 times in 10 years.
Estrada asked how the Jaycees could have sponsored Cunanan’s trips, and how the TRC chief was able to travel that frequently while doing his work at the TRC.
“Ang sarap naman ng buhay niya. Madalas siyang wala sa opisina. Papirma-pirma ng dokumento, nagliliwaliw kasama pa ang pamilya…. Hindi po ata sinusuportahan ni Dennis ang programang pang-turismo ng ating gobyerno. Dahil sa dalas niya sa labas ng Pilipinas, iisipin mo nga naman na para kay Dennis mukhang ‘it is more fun outside the Philippines!’”
(What a life he lived. He was always out of the office. He just signed documents, traveled abroad with his family…. It seems he’s not supporting the [government’s] tourism program, because for Dennis Cunanan, it’s more fun outside the Philippines!)
Estrada asked how Cunanan was able to afford the 80 trips. “Nagbiyahe siya 80 times sa loob ng 10 taon! Kahit sinong senador ‘di magagawa iyan. Siya TRC deputy director-general, director general, nagbiyahe ng 80 beses!”
(He traveled 80 times in 10 years. Even a senator cannot do that. He is a TRC deputy director-general, [then] director-general but he was able to travel 80 times!)
‘As if other countries were Quiapo’
Based on Bureau of Immigration records, Cunanan travelled to the United States, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea, among other countries. In a number of these trips, his wife and children accompanied him:
- 2013 – 12 times (wife travelled 9 times with Decu)
- 2012 – 12 times (wife travelled 10 times with Decu)
- 2011 – 14 times (with travelled 9 times with Decu)
- 2010 – 5 times (wife travelled 4 times in 2005)
- 2009 – 10 times
- 2008 – 14 times
- 2007 – 8 times
- 2006 – 5 times
- 2005– travelled once
- 2004 – travelled twice
“Ginagawa pong Quiapo ni Cunanan, ng kanyang asawa pati ng kanilang mga anak [ang mga bansang ito],” Estrada said. (It seems Cunanan, his wife and his children travel to these countries as if they are as near as Quiapo [in Manila].)
Estrada said the Cunanans travelled either on first class or business class and some of the trips lasted two weeks to a month.
Cunanan brother can’t afford house
Estrada also criticized Cunanan’s inconsistencies about his wealth, educational and professional background.
Cunanan has claimed that he is only renting from his brother Darius the P12-million house in White Plains, Quezon City, that he and his family are staying in.
Estrada cited documents that Darius Cunanan cannot afford to own such a property.
“I got the income tax returns of Darius. It said he had no compensation income. His only income in 2007 from business was P104,000. An income of just P104,000 and yet he was able to buy a P12 million house? That seems impossible,” the senator said.
“He said his brother applied for a loan from the bank. The deed of the sale of the house was dated June 11, 2007. The loan from the bank was June 21, 2007, 10 days after,” he continued.
Estrada said Cunanan only used the house as a collateral for the loan. “Is Darius or Dennis the real owner of the house? You can make your own conclusion.”
Unliquidated cash advance in Malacañang
Estrada also said he wrote the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance to verify that Cunanan did not finish public administration from the school. He said the school wrote him back confirming this.
He said Cunanan had a “powerful backer” that allowed him to be appointed at the Commission on Higher Education, Office of the House Speaker and as presidential assistant for youth affairs of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Dennis took out a cash advance of P6 million in 2004 as presidential assistant for youth affairs. He even has an outstanding unliquidated cash advance at the Office of the President of P4 million,” Estrada said.
Estrada also hit Cunanan for conveniently naming a dead congressman in his affidavit, Eduardo Roquero, as a lawmaker visiting the TRC to facilitate pork barrel kickbacks. A dead person cannot defend himself, the senator said.
“This new darling of the DOJ, Dennis Cunanan. He should have been held in contempt for lying over and over and over again before the Senate committee!”
The senator reiterated that he never talked to Cunanan on the phone to verify pork barrel documents. He questioned Cunanan’s statement that he recognized his voice from the movies.
“’Di siguro talaga nanood si Cunanan ng pelikula ko. ’Di kami ni minsan nagkausap ni Cunanan.” (He’s really not watching my movies. We did not talk, not once.) – Rappler.com