“Slam bang” witness Ruby Tuason on Wednesday met for the first time with the other plunder case witnesses, namely Marina Sula, Gertrudes Luy, Merlina Sunas, Marina Sula, and Mary Arlene Baltazar, all employees of suspected scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Tuason already met Benhur Luy on Monday.
Socialite Tuason was originally an accused in the plunder case filed by the government against Napoles, as well as Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, among others. But she is expected turn state witness, and therefore be excluded from the plunder case filed by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan.
Tuason and her colleagues attended Holy Mass at the chapel of the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima referred to the testimony of Tuason as “slam bang” as it would give vital information on how plunder money exchanged hands from Napoles to the lawmakers or their trusted personnel.
They held a conference to acquaint the witnesses with the pieces of evidences they will present before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing today.
Tuason was presented to the media in the afternoon, but she was not allowed to speak to reporters. She looked better on Wednesday compared on Monday when she appeared haggard. She was smiling and even exchanged pleasantries with media.
Accompanying Tuason at the conference room were Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano and Special Task Force chief Rolando Argabioso, who is responsible for gathering the pieces of evidences, as well the documentation of affidavits of the witnesses.
Argabioso said the Witness Protection Program (WPP) office is on top of the security of the witnesses, including Tuason, although NBI agents are always on hand to give support.
Justiniano clarified that although Tuason is “provisionally” accepted to the WPP, she is already entitled to security as the case is sensitive and involves big names.
Tuason will be accompanied today by the witnesses in her first appearance before the Senate. She is expected to narrate the details on how she delivered money, in the millions, to Senators Enrile and Estrada, who reportedly demanded kickbacks from their pork barrel.
Napoles is presently detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna for serious illegal detention, a non-bailable offense.
Once the Office of Ombudsman has finds merit in the plunder case, it is the only time warrants of arrests will be served to those involved in the embezzlement of P10 billion in pork barrel funds.
Tuason arrived in the Philippines from the United States on Friday and went straight to the Department of Justice to submit her sworn statement.