Santiago: Tuason testimony enough to prove Enrile guilt

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

MANILA -- Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the testimony of potential state witness Ruby Tuason is enough to disprove the claim of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile that he had no hand in the anomalous transactions of his chief-of-staff concerning his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Tuason on Thursday told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that she acted as a "go-between" for alleged PDAF scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles, and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Enrile.

But she said she only had dealings with lawyer Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, the chief-of-staff of Enrile. She said they would meet in pricey restaurants, such as Tsukiji, Mamou, Gourmand, and L'Opera, in the cities of Makati and Taguig.

Tuason admitted, however, that Enrile would sometimes drop by during her meetings with Reyes and have a cup of coffee. Sometimes, he would pick up Reyes after their meeting.

Both Enrile and Reyes are facing plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the alleged misuse of PDAF.

"This is very unusual, asking us to believe na pupunta si Senator Enrile habang naguusap chief of staff niya and si Ms. Tuason and wala siyang alam sa pinag-usapan nila and it concerns his PDAF," Santiago said.

"Alangan naman chief-of-staff mo nangingialam ng pork barrel mo. Pork barrel mo 'yan eh...Pwede bang ipabahala mo lang sa chief-of-staff mo? It just is not reality," she added.

Santiago said Enrile's presence during meetings was already a "consent" for her chief of staff to receive kickbacks for him from the anomalous projects of bogus non-government organizations funded by his PDAF.

"In all those instances, did Senator Enrile behave and speak in a manner showing he knew you had a kickback transaction with his chief of staff? Did Senator Enrile indicate in any way that he disapproved of the kickback transaction between you and his chief of staff? If Senator Enrile was silent, under the Civil Code, his silence meant consent," the senator said.

Santiago went as far as taking a personal swipe at Enrile, calling Reyes the senator's "querida" (mistress) who was "old enough to be his daughter."

Tuason said she was eventually cut out of the dealings when her contacts with senators were already in direct communication with Napoles. (Sunnex)

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