MANILA, Philippines – In his privilege speech on Wednesday, March 12, Senator Jinggoy Estrada not only questioned how Technology Resource Center chief Dennis Cunanan could afford his jet-setting lifestyle; he also trained his guns at self-confessed pork barrel bagman Ruby Tuason.
Estrada indicated that Tuason has several properties and a business funded by commissions from scams, including proceeds from the Malampaya gas operations that Office of the President had the discretion to release to agencies. (READ: Full text: Jinggoy on ‘polluted’ witnesses Cunanan, Tuason)
The two recently became provisional state witnesses in the pork barrel scam case, and have since pinned down 3 opposition senators: Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, and Juan Ponce Enrile (through his former chief of staff Gigi Reyes).
They are all co-respondents in a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman for colluding to siphon off lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund, coursed through agencies, to fake NGOs in exchange for hefty kickbacks.
Tuason is a family friend of the Estradas. She became President Joseph Estrada’s social secretary by virtue of his closeness to Jinggoy’s mother, then First Lady Luisa “Loi” Ejercito.
In his speech Wednesday, Estrada asked why Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted her as “provisional state witness” and allowed her to leave for the United States supposedly to sell property to give back the P40 million she earned from the scam.
He insinuated that Tuason will just transfer her many properties abroad to her children to protect her wealth.
“Mrs Tuason need not go abroad to get P40 million. Her house and lot in Dasmariñas Village in Makati called the ‘Malampaya mansion’ is enough to finance the measly P40 million she said she will return,” the senator said.
Watch the full speech here:
Estrada said Tuason has many properties funded by her P242-million kickback from the Malampaya fund scam, also in cahoots with pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.
Tuason’s supposedly scam-funded wealth include the following:
- A company called Rubysons Incorporated, which has a capitalization of P80 million and engaged in micro-business and formed in October 2009
- A high-end jewelry store in Solaire managed by her niece Jocelyn
- Shares at the Manila Polo Club for her two sons worth P12 million
- A property in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, worth P6.3 million, purchased in 2008; transferred to her son’s name in September 2013, two months after the PDAF scam was exposed
- A property in Oakland, California, USA, worth $150,000, purchased in September 2010; sold also in September 2013, two months after the PDAF scam was exposed
- Another house in Henderson, Nevada, USA
- A house in Kawayan Cove in Cavite
- A townhouse in Alabang, Muntinlupa City
- A townhouse in Valle Verde in Pasig City
Estrada also cited the report of the Senate sergeant at arms on a partial review of CCTV of Tuason’s Senate visits. The office found video of a woman resembling Tuason visiting the Senate 8 times in November and December 2008.
“Take note [of the] bag she’s carrying, there was no duffel bag, [while she’s] walking on the 6th floor. Note she’s carrying only her handbag,” Estrada said.
Sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia said the report only covered the last quarter of 2008 and his office has yet to go over video for other months after that. The video also did not show Tuason carrying trays of sandwich, as claimed by Estrada.
‘Dead men tell no tales’
Estrada blasted Tuason for blaming her dead brother, Remy Chan, for the Malampaya fund scam. He said he found it hard to believe that the sickly Remy would even engage in a scam when he was near his death. (READ: Tuason drags dead brother into Malampaya scam)
“Dead men tell no tales. This is like Cunanan citing a dead congressman. We can no longer hear from Remy what he knows,” Estrada said.
Like Tuason, Estrada hit Cunanan for conveniently naming a dead congressman in his affidavit, Eduardo Roquero, as a lawmaker visiting the TRC.
“I demand to know the answers to these disturbing questions. Are these people DOJ is spending for in the WPP? People who can’t even be honest on their educational background, dragging dead people? Or are they simply not aware because they did not explore the background of these personalities?”
“Is the DOJ now so desperate to pursue this case that they must now employ half-truths, perjured testimonies?”
Estrada alleged that an undersecretary at the Department of Justice has been coaching Tuason and Cunanan on what to say to pin him, Revilla, and Enrile.
“Is this handiwork of DOJ undersecretary who, I am told, was to focus only on me, Enrile, Revilla?” he said. – Rappler.com