Ruby Tuason holds the “slamdunk evidence” that will pin down Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, who are among several lawmakers implicated in the pork barrel scam.
Tuason, the former social secretary of former President and now Mayor Joseph Estrada of Manila on Friday submitted an affidavit to the Office of the Ombudsman where she detailed her involvement in delivering kickbacks from suspected pork barrel mastermind Janet Napoles to Estrada and Enrile.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who accompanied Tuason to the Ombudsman, said Tuason narrated in her affidavit how she delivered the commissions from pork barrel transactions to Estrada and Enrile’s chief of staff, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes.
Tuason handed the money to Estrada in the Senate parking area, de Lima said.
“It will be a slamdunk evidence,” she said.
Tuason said she introduced Napoles to Estrada and Enrile in 2004.
Estrada at first refused to meet Napoles but changed his mind when told he will be entitled to a 40- percent commission, according to Tuason.
Tuason herself got a “referral fee” of 1.5 percent for every deal she arranged, de Lima said.
She said Tuason’s testimony corroborates that of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
De Lima said Tuason has been into provisionally accepted into the government’s Witness Protection Program, but the final say lies with the Ombudsman.
She said she received feelers from Tuason’s camp in January that she wanted to turn state witness.
A team from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) fetched Tuason from San Francisco, California, and accompanied her to the Philippine consular where she authenticated her sworn statement, de Lima said.
Tuason pledged to return some of the money she received as her cut from deals involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya fund.
Tuason was implicated in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam where she allegedly received P242.77 million from a “still unidentified principal.”
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said Tuason’s application as a witness is “conditional.”
“I’d like to emphasize that your application for being a state witness will be conditional because we have to see to it that you do not hedge on your promise to testify for the prosecution,” Morales said.
Before she was escorted out of the Ombudsman’s office, Tuason described her decision to testify as a “big sacrifice.”
“It was a very big sacrifice on my part because these [defendants]are close friends of mine. It really pains me that I have to do this,” she said.
She said she decided to tell the truth “so that I do not have to fear anything. I don’t have to hide.”
According to her lawyer, Dennis Manalo, Tuason went through a “repeated process of reflection, recollection and discernment.”
“She just realized that her only liberation from her anxiety, fear as well as a bothered conscience is the disclosure of the truth,” Manalo said.
The lawyer said his client will reveal names, dates and other specific instances before the Ombudsman.
“It may not necessarily dovetail on every single point or fact but only on the substantial portions of the evidence. In so far as the essential or material personalities are concerned, they are corroborated,” Manalo said.