The Department of Justice (DOJ) won’t take in all the informants on the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam as government witnesses, a Palace official said Saturday.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the announcement to address criticisms that the suspects in the PDAF mess are volunteering to be witnesses to escape criminal liability.
“The informants will be screened by the Department of Justice. Secretary (Leila) de Lima already made it clear that not everybody who volunteers [information on the case]will be enlisted as a witness. The Justice department will scrutinize the testimony and evaluate whether it will have an impact on the case filed before the Office of the Ombudsman,” Valte told Radyo ng Bayan.
Of the 38 respondents in plunder and graft-related complaints in connection with the scam, at least two have qualified as provisional state witnesses: Ruby Tuason, who is a former aide of former President Joseph Estrada, and Dennis Cunanan who used to head of the state-run Technology Livelihood Resource Center.
“As Secretary de Lima said, the Justice department won’t have any reason to enlist somebody as a government witness if their testimony won’t add up to the merits of the existing ones,” Valte said.
Valte assured that the Aquino administration will not stand in the way of administering justice, even if Cunanan claimed that Director General Joel Villanueva of the Technical and Skills Development Authority is also involved in the PDAF scam.
“What we want is to find out the truth. The truth will be our evidence. Secretary Villanueva already said that he is willing to face investigation about this,”” Valte said.
LLANESCA T. PANTI