Senators: Is Ruby Tuason a Trojan Horse?

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Monday, February 10, 2014

"IS RUBY Tuason a Trojan Horse?"

This question popped up on Monday after two senators vowed to grill Ruby Tuason in the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing this coming Thursday.

In an interview, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said he appreciated the move of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for doing its job in trying to pursue the truth on the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that implicated Senators Jose Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

"She should not immediately be removed from the list of the accused. Her evidence should be weighed if it is essential for prosecuting the case," Cayetano said in Filipino.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III earlier asked the DOJ to be cautious in their dealing with Tuason, saying everything should be carefully evaluated.

Pimentel said just like the three accused senators, Tuason is also facing a plunder complaint related to the pork barrel scam the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Pimentel said there is always that possibility that Tuason is just trying to save herself.

Both Cayetano and Pimentel agreed that Tuason's testimony should be believable and not just made up to save her neck and help her to avoid the prospect of being jailed.

Tuason returned to Manila last week after fleeing to the United States late last year. She was accompanied by NBI agents.

Pimentel said it is a must for Tuason to appear in the Senate as a resource person so that the people will have that chance to see for themselves on whether or not she is credible and would allow the public to weigh her allegations.

Pimentel said the DOJ in its plan to grant Tuason her plea to become state witness should still study her testimony and compare it with all the available evidence to support her being a state witness.

Tuason used to be an employee at Malacanang during the term of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and was assigned as coordinator for Estrada's social functions.

Enrile shrugged off the allegations hurled against him by Tuason.

Enrile said Tuason is merely an acquaintance.

"I know her only as a casual acquaintance. Nothing more," Enrile said.

Enrile said he opted not to appear in the hearing in order to allow senators to do their job in ferreting out the truth.

Senator Estrada initially said she will attend the hearing but later changed his mind to give way to senators investigating the controversy.

"Having been at the receiving end of the relentless persecution against those allegedly involved in PDAF controversy, I can only sympathize with Mrs. Tuason. But what is being portrayed against me is far from the truth," Estrada said.

Estrada added that Tuason was not and has never been part of his Senate or personal staff and is not connected with his office, officially or unofficially. He also said that Tuason was never authorized to represent him or his office in any capacity.

"Lastly, Ms. Tuason has had no role with respect to the PDAF allocation of my office whatsoever." Estrada was quoted as saying.

Estrada also described the accusations of Tuason as utterly false and baseless.

He wants Senate closed-circuit television (CCTV) clips reviewed to check Tuason's claim of delivering pork kickbacks.

Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said the opposition is being hit left and right by the administration, which he said is obviously timed for the 2016 national elections.

Ejercito, a member of the opposition, also admitted that it is already affecting the opposition and it might leave them crippled.

"The opposition is being hit one by one. We all know that 2016 is nearing. The opposition cannot perform its equalizing role as we are put on the defensive," Ejercito said.

Ejercito said he will grill Tuason when she appears at the Blue Ribbon hearing on Thursday in order to unmask her motive. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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