Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said Friday he suspects Ruby Tuason was pressured into testifying against him in the pork barrel scam.
Estrada said he and Tuason did not have any disagreements, so he could not understand why she is implicating him.
In an earlier interview, Estrada said Tuason “can testify as long she wants. I am very confident she will not say anything against me . . . ”
Estrada made it clear Tuason was never been part of his staff nor was authorized to represent him in any capacity, including receiving his supposed commissions for allocating part of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to non-government organizations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
The Senate blue ribbon committee has rescheduled the hearing on the Malampaya fund mess to listen to the testimony of Tuason, a former social secretary of former President and now Mayor Joseph Estrada of Manila.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd, blue ribbon chairman said the committee will invite Tuason to a hearing on February 13.
Tuason arrived in Manila from San Francisco Friday morning and was brought directly to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Many believe that her testimony could be crucial in the plunder case filed against several lawmakers including three senators—Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla.
Whistleblower Benhur Luy, in his testimony during one of the hearings of the blue ribbon committee last year, said Tuason received PDAF kickbacks from Napoles on behalf of the senators she represents.
Luy said there was even a time when Napoles instructed her to deliver the cash directly to Tuason’s residence.
Tuason, who fled to the United States after the controversy broke out last year, is the alleged link of Napoles to Enrile and Estrada.
Apart from Tuason, also charged with malversation before the Office of the Ombudsman were Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff; Richard Cambe, staff of Revilla and Pauline Labayen, Estrada’s Staff.
Also charged with malversation, direct bribery, and other graft and corrupt practices were former congressmen Rodolfo Plaza, Samuel Dangwa and Constantino Jaraula.
The blue ribbon was supposed to proceed with its inquiry on the P900-milliom Malampaya fund mess that also involves Napoles linked NGO and local officials, after it wraps up its PDAF scam hearing last month.
Estrada said he has no plans of attending the blue ribbon hearing on Thursday, noting that he already inhibited himself from the beginning of the proceedings.
Mayor Estrada on Friday said he is confident that his son, Senator Estrada, can defend himself in the pork barrel scam.
“I know my son Jinggoy can defend himself,” Estrada said, referring to the sworn statement of Tuason, his former aide when he was President.
With report from Jaime R. Pilapil