Enrile met Tuason over property, not kickbacks

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Monday, February 10, 2014

MANILA -- Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday admitted knowing Ruby Tuason but not for the latter's role as bagman to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles but to discuss a property transaction.

"The only time I met her was in Mamu restaurant, a very crowded restaurant. It was not to discuss PDAF or to receive a bribe but I was discussing with her a prospective property transaction. That was about it," Enrile told reporters.

"We met a long time ago. Over the years, I haven't seen her until Erap became President. I saw her in Malacanang. That was about it. When I returned to the Senate in 2004, I used to see her in the elevator. Later on, I found out that she was acting as a broker, buyer of property," Enrile added.

Tuason is a close friend of and social secretary to former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

According to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Tuason said in her affidavit that she personally delivered kickbacks to Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

The kickbacks allegedly came from the diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations put up by Napoles, now detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna.

Enrile said he is not worried with Tuason's testimony, which De Lima earlier said was a "slam-dunk" evidence against the two senators. Enrile and Estrada, along with Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., are facing plunder charges for their supposed involvement in the PDAF controversy.

Enrile said he will make a formal reply to Tuason's affidavit when he personally reads it.

"The primary document is the affidavit. I will not rely on the statement of people. I want to see the full text of the affidavit...And then we will make a formal answer about it," he said. (Sunnex)

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