Tuason affidavit not enough to pin me down—Jinggoy Estrada
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada said Ruby Tuason’s affidavit was not enough to pin him down on the “pork barrel” scam, saying the evidence was either fabricated or fed to his accuser.
Estrada said he obtained a copy of the affidavit where Tuason, his co-accused in the plunder case over the pork scam, simply claimed that she gave him money in the Senate and in his residence in San Juan.
But the affidavit, he said, did not contain specific dates and the amount of commissions that he had supposedly received for funnelling his pork barrel funds to non-government organizations owned by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
“I expect them to file a supplemental affidavit because the original affidavit was not enough, none really. That’s not enough to pin me down,” Estrada told reporters.
Tuason claimed that she personally handed the commission to Estrada amounting to P35 million from 2007 to 2009.
But Estrada noted the figure was different from the P9 million that whistleblower Benhur Luy said he gave to the senator .
This was the reason why, he said, Tuason and Luy met Monday to tally their figures.
“They will jack it up to reach the threshold of plunder,” Estrada said in mixed Filipino and English.
He also noted the sudden existence of a ledger that Tuason was allegedly preparing to show the records of the amount she handed to Estrada.
“Now she’s making the ledger so that the figures would tally. My goodness…Of course, they’re cooking it up. This was well orchestrated. Ever since the NBI went there. I presume that they fed the stories to Mrs. Tuason,” said the senator.
Estrada was referring to National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents who went to the US to fetch and bring Tuason back to the Philippines.
But Estrada said the closed-circuit television (CCTV) at the Senate would show if Tuason had indeed delivered the money to his office.
“P35 million, that’s how many kilos? Could she be able to bring that?” he said.
In the affidavit, Estrada also noted the specific mention of SARO numbers, which he suspects was only fed to Tuason. SARO is Special Allotment Release Order, a document that authorizes an agency to release funds for specific projects.
“She’s in the US, how can she remember the SARO numbers (if it’s not fed to her). The DOJ undersecretary went there, these are the SARO numbers just sign them… Do you think Mrs. Tuason will remember the SARO numbers? I don’t think so and she has nothing to do with the SARO number,” said the senator.
Estrada also said he was unfazed to the planned no holds barred hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee when Tuason testifies before it on Thursday.
“Go ahead. I am unfazed. Of course she is going to fabricate stories already for the public to believe. This is all trial by publicity,” he said.
The senator maintained his decision not to attend the hearing since he had inhibited from it from the start and now that his lawyers have barred him from participating in it.
After all, Estrada said he expects Tuason to fabricate stories and if he would attend the hearing, he said he could not cite her in contempt anyway lest he be accused of “bullying” her.
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