Ruby Tuason has ‘slam dunk’ evidence vs Enrile, Estrada, says DOJ chief
MANILA, Philippines – Another key witness in the pork barrel scam has provided “slam dunk evidence” that have implicated the Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said Friday.
De Lima said Ruby Tuason, former aide of ex-President Joseph Estrada, has personal knowledge about the actual turnover of cash from Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the scam, to the two senators.
“Her testimony is about the turnover of funds, she personally delivered the money. Her testimony is more than corroborating Benhur Luy’s testimony…We can call this a slam dunk evidence,” De Lima said.
Benhur Luy, a relative of Napoles, provided a similar testimony before the Senate investigating the pork barrel scam in 2013.
Tuason, in her 15-page affidavit, said she was the one who introduced the two senators to Napoles in 2004.
“I personally know Senator Jinggoy Estrada. I was social secretary of his father when he occupied the highest position of the land. I also know Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, we have been godparents in a wedding. His chief of staff Atty. Gigi Reyes and I were friends even before I met Ms. Napoles,” Tuason said.
“On or about some time in 2004, I relayed the PDAF offer of Janet Napoles to Senator Jinggoy Estrada. I also relayed the same offer to Attorney Gigi Reyes, Chief of Staff of Senator Enrile,” Tuason said.
PDAF is the Priority Development Assistance Fund of lawmakers, which is also commonly known as “pork barrel”. Several legislators, including Enrile and Estrada, were identified as having channeled their “pork” funds to bogus non-government organizations set up by Napoles.
Tuason said that for every project, the lawmaker would receive a 40-percent kickback less 5 percent for every business transaction. On the other hand, sTuason said she would get 1.5 percent for every successful referral.
“I pick up the shares of Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, the latter, thru Chief of Staff Atty. Gigi Reyes,” Tuason said in her affidavit.
“At first, Atty. Gigi Reyes refused to see Janet Napoles but agreed to course the release of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s PDAF following the same arrangement that Janet Napoles made in Senator Jinggoy Enrile,” Tuason further said.
There are instances, De Lima said quoting Tuason’s testimony that she would deliver Estrada’s shares in cash at the Senate office in Pasay City.
On the other hand, in delivering cash to Enrile, Tuason said she would meet with Reyes at a restaurant in Makati, along Pasay road or at the Fort.
“Atty. Gigi Reyes would pick-up the money alone. I remember occasions that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile would join us when we are almost done for a cup of coffee,” she said.
Tuason and Napoles are business partners. She said they invested in a company that would develop beach-front properties.
Tuason arrived from the US early morning Friday escorted by members of the National Bureau of Investigation.
De Lima said, Tuason has been provisionally admitted to the government’s Witness Protection Program, is no longer a respondent.
“Based on our own evaluation, she is qualified to become a state witness,” De Lima said.
Tuason’s lawyer has asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to grant Tuason immunity from suit.
De Lima said the Ombudsman has yet to evaluate whether to grant the request or not.
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