THE enlistment as a state witness of Ruby Tuason, one of 38 people facing plunder and graft-related complaints over the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, won’t compromise justice, a Palace official said Saturday.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the observation a day after Tuason returned to the country from San Francisco, California, to sign her affidavit stating that she personally handed kickbacks to Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile for the transactions entered with non-existent entities owned by Janet Lim-Napoles using their PDAF.
“There is a procedure on how one becomes a state witness and he or she should be the least guilty and would be able to shed truth to the matter. The law allows this procedure [of having a state witness and putting them under witness protection]to facilitate the revelation of the truth,” said Lacierda over Radyo ng Bayan.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima described Tuason’s testimony as a “slamdunk,” considering that Tuason witness firsthand how legislators transacted with Napoles.
Prior evidence against the senators consisted mainly of documents from the Commission on Audit (COA) and accounts from whistleblower Benhur Luy.
De Lima presented Tuason on Friday to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who will evaluate Tuason’s knowledge of the PDAF scam as stated in her affidavit and determine if justifies her being a state witness.
Aside from her affidavit, Tuason, a former Social Welfare and Development secretary during the administration of former president Joseph Estrada, also promised to return her commissions from the PDAF mess.
“Let us wait for the case to progress and let her unveil the mystery on the transactions. She is someone who witnessed the giving of the funds to certain legislators. Let’s see where this would lead the case, but this definitely strengthens the case before the Ombudsman,” Lacierda.
He underscored that pursuing criminal liability in the pork barrel scandal is not limited to lawmakers from the opposition ranks but are based on the evidence coming in.
“We have never departed from the instructions of the President to go where the evidence takes us. Where there is evidence, there will be progress in the case. It all depends on the evidence coming in,” Lacierda said.