THE sworn affidavit of Ruby Tuason contains fabricated stories fed to her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make sure that it would fit the testimonies of other so-called pork barrel scam witnesses, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said on Tuesday.
Estrada, who admitted having read parts of the Tuason’s affidavit earlier submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, said he is convinced that the justice department helped Tuason concoct the story about her supposed role in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy.
The senator particularly cited a portion on Tuason’s affidavit wherein she stated various special allotment release orders (SARO) numbers, which she managed to remember while she was in the United States (US).
“How can she remember the SARO number if it was not fed to her. An official of the DOJ went to the US and provided her the numbers so it can match the supposed SARO numbers obtained by Benhur Luy,” Estrada told reporters in an interview.
The senator also took note of the lack of specific information on Tuason’s affidavit including the missing specific dates and amounts of the supposed PDAF “cut” she supposedly delivered him and Enrile.
Tuason said in her affidavit that she was the one in charge of delivering Estrada and Enrile’s alleged PDAF kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles,
According to Tuason she personally delivered Estrada’s cuts either in his office at the Senate or at his residence in San Juan. Enrile’s commissions, on the other hand, were accepted by his chief of staff, lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes.
On Monday, Tuason met Luy at the NBI office and compared notes in preparation for the Blue Ribbon hearing on Thursday.
Estrada said the main purpose of the meeting between Tuason and Luy was for them to tally their figures and jack it up for it to reach the P50-million threshold for plunder.
“Benhur Luy earlier claimed that I received P9 million, but now Tita Ruby is saying that it was P35 million. Clearly they are trying jack-up the amount to reach the threshold,” the Senator noted.
He added that the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the senate parking lot could show if Tuason really delivered P35 million to him.
Tuason has dared Estrada and Enrile to attend Thursday’s Blue Ribbon probe on the PDAF scam to show to the public who among them lying.
Estrada said he is willing to attend the hearing, however his lawyers barred him from doing so since it would not do him any good.
He explained that if he attends the hearing, he cannot just cite Tuason in contempt even if the latter starts blurting lies, because he could be accused of trying prevent her from testifying.
“If I was there and she [Tuason] started telling fabricated stories, do you expect me to cite her in contempt? I will be accused of bullying her,” Estrada said.
Estrada and Enrile have inhibited themselves from attending the hearing in order to avoid being accused of trying to harass the resource persons that would appear in the proceedings.
Meanwhile, opposition senator Nancy Binay said that she is convinced that the ongoing attacks against Estrada and Enrile is part of the sinister move by some members of the administration to discredit the opposition.
Without naming names, Binay said that the attacks against the prominent members of the opposition started during the 2013 mid-term elections and it appears that people with interest in 2016 wants to sustain it in order to increase their chances.
But Binay expressed belief that President Benigno Aquino 3rd is not part of the plan because he has no vested interest in the 2016 national elections considering that he is not a re-electionist.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd assured on Tuesday that the hearing on February 13 will be no-holds-barred just like the other hearings of the committee.
He said besides Tuason, the panel also invited Merlina Suñas, Marina Sula and Luy to compare the testimony of the former to the earlier testimonies of the whistleblowers.
“It’s important in the sense that she named several individuals and she says she can narrate how it was done, where it was done and under what circumstances it was done,” Guingona said when asked about the importance of Tuason’s testimony for the blue ribbon probe.
Guingona said that aside from the PDAF scam, the panel will also ask Tuason about her knowledge on the Malampaya fund mess.