Ruby Tuason admits not paying tax
Socialite Ruby Tuason on Monday concluded her testimony at the Sandiganbayan bail hearing of detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, with the prosecution and defense both claiming they were able to elicit information from her to support their contrasting positions.
Appearing for the sixth and final time at Estrada’s trial, Tuason admitted that she did not pay income tax in 2014, the year she secured a P45-million loan from East West Bank.
Tuason told the antigraft court’s Fifth Division in earlier testimony she had taken out the loan so she could return to the government the P40 million in commissions she received from the P10-billion pork barrel scam in exchange for immunity from suit.
Tuason was in fighting form as defense lawyer Sabino Acut Jr. quizzed her on her application for the East West Bank loan, which he noted had matured last April 30.
“Were you telling the truth when you (accomplished) the loan application form? Did you file income tax in 2014?” Acut asked.
“I thought I did not have to because I understand the (income) from the money market investments was subject to final tax,” Tuason replied.
State prosecutor Hazel Valdez-Decena registered her opposition to Acut’s handling of Tuason’s cross-examination, arguing that the issues pertaining to Tuason’s loan were immaterial and irrelevant to the plunder and graft charges against Estrada.
Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo sustained Valdez’s objection as he pointed out that only those matters mentioned in the information filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Estrada should be the subject of the court proceedings.
“But we’re trying to impeach the credibility of this witness. We just want to show that this witness would lie when lying is convenient for her,” Acut said.
Acut also accused Tuason of lying when she claimed in her April 2014 loan application that she was not facing any criminal cases even if she was aware that the Ombudsman had filed a plunder case against her in connection with the alleged P900-million Malampaya Fund scam.
In an interview following the hearing, Estrada said he was confident his lawyers had succeeded in impugning Tuason’s credibility as a prosecution witness.
“Up to now, I strongly believe the evidence against me is weak,” he told reporters.–Marlon Ramos
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