Jinggoy urges Senate to invite Tuason, Napoles in probe into Malampaya fund mess
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Monday said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should invite Janet Lim-Napoles and Ruby Tuason in the probe into the Malampaya fund mess, saying Tuason raked in millions in kickbacks from the scam.
At the sidelines of his bail hearing from plunder, Estrada said Tuason pocketed bribes from the scam, the elaborate scheme of diverting money from the Malampaya fund, originally intended for farmers devastated by a typhoon, to ghost projects for kickbacks.
Involved in the ghost project schemes are the nongovernment organizations linked to accused pork barrel scam mastermind Napoles.
Estrada said both Napoles and Tuason should be invited by the Senate for investigation.
“That will not prosper if they don’t invite Napoles and Tuason. I’ve repeatedly requested that Napoles and Tuason be invited to shed light on the Malampaya scam. In my own opinion, si Tuason ang nagkamal ng pera,” said Estrada, who stands trial for plunder over another Napoles’ scam involving his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
Estrada said Tuason even spent over P200 million in Malampaya kickbacks for her mansion in Dasmariñas, which he called the “Malampaya mansion.”
Asked why Blue Ribbon Committee chair Senator Teofisto Guingona III seemed not interested in inviting the two, Estrada said his colleague might be protecting other people’s interests.
“Marami siguro siyang pinoprotektahan,” Estrada said.
Guingona said it is not yet time for the panel to invite Napoles, noting that the last time she was in the Senate for its hearing on the pork barrel scam, the alleged mastermind only invoked her right against self-incrimination.
Tuason, the former social secretary of Jinggoy’s father former president Joseph Estrada, said she personally delivered kickbacks to Jinggoy and another co-accused Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
She admitted that she introduced the lawmakers to Napoles. She fled the country at the height of the scandal, and returned only to become a provisional state witness.
The Malampaya scam allegedly occurred under the administration of former President Gloria Arroyo, who faces a plunder complaint for her alleged role in the anomaly.
The fund represents the government’s royalties collected from the operation of gas wells off Palawan Island. The fund, which was supposedly intended for energy development, was diverted for the victims of Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009, only to end up in the dubious foundations of Napoles.
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