Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general (on leave) Dennis Cunanan should not be given legislative immunity and the Justice Department should also re-consider its decision to accept him at the witness protection program (WPP) of the government, according to Sen. Grace Poe.
During last week’s Senate Blue ribbon committee hearing on the pork barrel scandal involving three senators, Cunanan asked the panel to grant him legislative immunity, the same privilege earlier given to Benhur Luy.
Luy is the principal witness in the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona, chairman of the Blue Ribbon panel, said Cunanan could be given immunity subject to the approval of Senate President Franklin Drilon.
In a radio interview on Sunday, however, Poe said that Cunanan is not worthy of such privilege because she knows that the TRC official was not telling the whole truth about his role in the pork barrel scam.
The senator noted that if Cunanan was really sincere in telling everything he should have done it when he testified under oath during the Blue Ribbon hearing last week.
Poe said that if Cunanan is incapable of telling the whole truth, then there is no reason for him to be granted a privilege like legislative immunity.
Cunanan, the latest provisional witness of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has claimed that he was able to talk to Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada as well as lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, regarding their respective pork barrel allocations coursed through the TRC.
In his testimony, Cunanan insisted that Estrada, Revilla, and Enrile had a direct hand in choosing and endorsing non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the scam.
He even claimed incidents wherein Revilla, and Estrada would pressure him to release their fundings to the NGOs they allegedly endorsed to carry out their PDAF projects.
In his affidavit, however, Cunanan denied receiving commissions from Napoles, despite of the testimony of Luy that he saw the TRC official visiting the JLN office at Discovery Suites, Pasig City and leaving the area carrying a bag supposedly containing P960,000.
This is the reason why the DOJ should reconsider its decision to place Cunanan, under the agency’s WPP and his application to be a state witness in the scam, Poe said.
The senator said the Justice department should thoroughly study Cunanan’s case because placing him under WPP and making him state witness could send a wrong message to those who are working in the government that they could escape prosecution by implicating others and denying benefiting from any crime.
“I’m sure we can find individuals that can be whistleblowers . . . We should not rush things to resolve this case,” Poe said in a radio interview.