De Lima wants Gigi Reyes, Ruby Tuason summoned on pork barrel scam
MANILA, Philippines — If the members of the Senate blue ribbon committee really wanted to get a complete picture of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, they should also summon staff of the senators said to be involved in the controversy, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Tuesday.
“I am very interested in Gigi Reyes and Ruby Tuason. Shouldn’t they be called? Let’s see if they are willing to talk or will they also be invoking their right against self-incrimination or their right to remain silent?” De Lima told reporters in an ambush interview.
De Lima was referring to lawyer Lucille Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Ruby Chan Tuason, whose principal is unknown.
Aside from Reyes and Tuason, other senatorial staff being investigated for alleged involvement in the PDAF scam included Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s chief political adviser Richard Cambe, Enrile’s deputy chief of staff Jose Antonio Evangelista, and Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s deputy chief of staff Pauline Labayen.
De Lima said her office was also preparing a course of action to compel Reyes, Tuason as well as former congressman Rodolfo Plaza and Technology Resource Center director-general Antonio Ortiz Jr. to show up in the investigation.
“I’m thinking of a remedy to put pressure on them so that they’ll show up [in the investigation], so that they will return home. I’m studying intensively the Philippine Passport Act if we can use a proper group to have their passports cancelled, even if they still can’t be strictly considered fugitives from justice,” she explained.
All four left the country in August and September.
The Secretary, who was again asked by reporters for her reaction to the Senate’s issuance of a subpoena to suspected PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, expressed opposition to her being made state witness, should she decide to tell senators what she know about the scam.
She added: “I hope the Senate will not think of giving immunity to Mrs. Napoles because it will affect the proceedings before the Office of the Ombusman (which is investigating the first batch of PDAF cases filed by the National Bureau of Investigation).”
The Secretary said it would be better for Napoles to just shut up instead of speaking out and cause confusion in the Senate hearing.
“Will she (Napoles) tell all [she knows about the PDAF scam]? Will she be hiding anything? Because if that’s the case, she might as well not speak up anymore, [especially] if her testimony will just obfuscate, mislead, confuse or muddle the scenario of the PDAF scam cases,” De Lima said.
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