#TalkThursday with Dennis Manalo
MANILA, Philippines – Rappler talks to Dennis Manalo, lawyer of pork barrel scam witness Ruby Tuason.
Before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Tuason confessed she was the "go-between" of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile. In her affidavit submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Tuason picked up from the statements of principal state witness Benhur Luy that the two senators received a 40% commission, while she collected about 5%. (WATCH: AS IT HAPPENS: Tuason testifies at the Senate)
After her testimony, Tuason went back to Los Angeles, supposedly to secure funds she could use to return the P40 million in commissions she earned from the pork barrel transactions. Manalo said Tuason is negotiating with "people who are interested in buying her property" in the Philippines. This is her Dasmariñas property which has been referred to as the "Malampaya Mansion" by Senator Estrada. (READ: DOJ okays Ruby Tuason trip to US)
In a privilege speech on March 12, Estrada hit the whistleblower, saying she didn't need to leave the country. He said the Dasmariñas property on Carissa Street "would be more than enough to finance the measly P40 million" she has offered to return. The senator alleged that the so-called Malampaya Mansion was one of the properties Tuason acquired using commissions from the pork barrel transactions. (READ: Tuason's 'Malampaya mansion' can pay for P40M – Jinggoy)
Defending his client, Manalo provided Rappler with documents showing she was the beneficiary of almost $2 million in insurance proceeds from the death of her estranged husband, Carlos "Butch" Tuason, in 2008. He said Tuason purchased the Dasmariñas property in 2009 for P45 miilion. (READ: Tuason got millions from ex-husband's death)
The credibility of Tuason as a "provisional witness" in the government's Witness Protection Program has been under attack. Her motives for turning against the Estradas – her long-time friends – have also been questioned.
Manalo will talk about the issues surrounding Tuason. Watch the interview below.