• Palace open to make Tuason state witness

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    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.

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    9 Comments

    1. I am from the UK and am relatively new to the Philippines. I have been following the developments of the Pork Barrel hearings on the media here. I am trying to understand the “ins and outs” of all of this.
      What concerns me is that there will be a clear outcome to these proceedings. Those responsible for fraud and corruption should be prosecuted, who ever they are, and solid legal procedures put in place to ensure this never happens again.

      This is an important phase in the Philippines shifting away from what I can gather has been a wide spread corruption culture here. President Aquino in all fairness has been active in this process.

      I blogged recently on this here. My main concern is that once the proceedings are completed they are not simply filed away and forgotten. Janet Lim Napoles prosecuted and that is it.

      The Leveson inquires into an endemic cell phone hacking culture by the British Press has lead no where. This whole episode was very similar to the present situation here….I can not find a clear out come to any of it.

      Politicians love this. Seemingly do all they can to cure a problem then quietly ignore it when the media circus moves on.
      This is too important for the Philippines and must not be allowed to happen here.

    2. The Palace Prevaricator in Chief Lacierda who is sadly an illegal luminary is at it again, Lacierda said and I quote:

      “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.”

      Nowhere in the Rules of Curt does it mention that to be a state witness, “he or she should be least guilty.” Following are the requirements:

      1. There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested;

      2. There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed; except the testimony of the accused;

      3.The testimony of the accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points;

      4. The accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and

      5. The accused has not at any time been investigated of any offense involving moral turpitude.

      Perforce, Tuason cannot and should not be admitted as a state witness to escape criminal punishment for two important reasons i.e. a) “she does not appear to to be the most guity” – On the contrary Tuason is a principal by direct participation and indispensable cooperation if her accounts are true, and b) the testimony of Tuason cannot be corroborated on it’s material points. Ben Hur Luy or any of the whistle blowers were not present when these alleged grease monies were given to the accused Enrile and Estrada. Besides, Tuason alleged in her affidavit that she could not recall any amount of the transactions – a material point that should be corroborated. At most, the government can only use Tuason as a hostile witness owing to the fact that Tuason is one of the accused.

      • They are doing this out of necessity. They need her. If not her then who? I don’t see a lot of volunteer witnesses out there. Judges in this country don’t read the Rules of Court when that is their primary job to do so. A majority of the judiciary is either on the take or incompetent. Laws and rules in the Philippines are merely of “guidelines” or “suggestions.” If people don’t follow simple traffic rules or the Revised Penal Code, good luck in having them follow the Rules.

    3. Lacierda never fails to amaze me. The evidence offered by Tuason “definitely strengthens the case before the ombudsman.” he says. What a brilliant observation! But of course it will and you don’t have to e a spokesman of pnoy to know that would you. Criminal liability on the pork barrel scam are based on “evidence coming in”, another brilliant observation, and he says further “it is not limited to opposition legislators”. What opposition one might ask because I don’t see any real opposition in Congress even Jungguy during his interview in Primetime the other night declared that he is an avid supported of the president. Perhaps Lacierda meant them to be those who have recently irked pnoy somehow and he is just making a veiled threat to others to be “nice” or they might just be included in the next batch of indictees.

    4. Abnoy, how much of their gold will self-confessed plunderer Tuason get to keep for incriminating people perceived as your enemies? You’ve shown, in conspiracy with your cabal in Justice, to resort to extreme measures to silence the opposition. If you think we are buying every drip of poison being fed by your disinformation team, you are so wrong.

      • What opposition? What I see are freakin actors and traditional politicians composing your “Opposition.” They don’t even have a program of government. They don’t stand for anything except lies and thievery.

    5. To be able to continue prosecuting the corrupt politicians and officials, I think Pnoy must stay as President. Another President is no guarantee that those guys would be prosecuted.

      • The Presidency of Mr. Ramos, Erap and GM Arroya were mared with corruptions reports. The names of those 3 president were included in the reports and their honesty were obviously in question. In PNoys’ case, no reports had been made about his hand being caught in the cookie jar. But some of the cabinet members and other executives for the Palace are now becoming suspects.

    6. Still no word on KKK corruption? Justice, how much loot are you letting this self-confessed plunderer keep in exchange for possibly fake, biased testimony?