Trillanes tells Estrada: Name other senators visited by Tuason

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Senator Jinggoy Estrada should name the other former and incumbent senators allegedly approached by Ruby Tuason to peddle projects to be funded by their pork barrel allocations, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Wednesday.

"Sa akin, sana sinabi nya doon sa floor. Nobody was stopping him...Para tayo kasing nagba-blind item dito," Trillanes told reporters.

In Tuesday's plenary session, Estrada and Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Teofisto Guingona III had a confrontation.

The matter stemmed from Estrada assailing Guingona last Monday for prejudging the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam issue implicating the former as well as the Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. on their supposed collusion with alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Napoles in the light of the testimony given by Tuason in the last Blue Ribbon hearing.

"The issue is whether she is lying or not. Because I have received information and I can support that she had been asking our colleagues here – former colleagues and incumbent colleagues here – for projects at, inilalako din niya. O, bakit hindi niyo itinanong iyan?" Estrada told Guingona.

Estrada said it is time to know who these senators whom Tuason regularly visits and whom she goes and peddle their PDAF.

Trillanes said Estrada himself should file a Senate resolution calling for an investigation on the matter that he raised.

On Wednesday, Estrada asked the Senate to provide him through the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms copy of the CCTV video footage that will cover not only the parking area of the senators and the 6th floor but the 5th floor as well where majority of the senators hold their offices.

Estrada said that it was about time that other senators, current and former, be on the carpet for the same accusations hurled against him and his two colleagues in the Senate.

"Accusation versus accusation will not help. Time to dig the truth deeper. The video in the Senate covering the 5th floor will have to speak for itself," Estrada said.

Estrada said that Tuason, who confessed to be an agent of Napoles, admitted to him that she was "dealing" with other senators, both former and current, in the past and not so recent past, allegedly for "allocation" of their respective pork barrel funds.

It was Estrada who revealed Tuason's alleged "under the table" deals with some of his fellow senators concerning their PDAF project allocations as he and Guingona nearly came to blows Tuesday during the afternoon plenary proceedings in a face-off.

The senator said only those from the opposition are being singled out in the PDAF scam and the 5th floor video footage will really help in ferreting out the truth.

"Just an addendum to my request, when I took the floor last week I requested the Senate President or the Senate leadership to release all the CCTV footages wherein the presence of Mrs. Ruby Tuason on the 6th floor. Can you just include the 5th floor? Can you kindly monitor the presence of Mrs. Ruby Tuason at the 5th floor maybe in the years 2010 onwards?" Estrada asked Senate President Franklin Drilon in plenary.

Drilon, for his part, directed the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to produce whatever is available closed-circuit television (CCTV) recording for the 5th floor from 2010 onwards.

Tuason had testified before Guingona's committee that she personally delivered Estrada's kickbacks while she was working for Napoles back in 2008. Tuason is a close friend of the Estrada family.

Guingona took the floor Tuesday to rebut Estrada’s pot shots a day earlier, but Estrada confronted the blue ribbon chairman for failing to put to a test the credibility of Tuason, whether she was being upfront in all of the revelations she had made during the last blue ribbon hearing.

Estrada admitted that he was surprised why Tuason mentioned only him and Enrile’s former chief of staff, Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, in her affidavit when she has a lot of senator-friends to whom she goes and peddles their PDAF.

But Trillanes said Estrada was free to attend the Blue Ribbon committee hearings so he could have personally rebutted the allegations of Tuason.

"Alam nyo, hindi naman sa pinipigilan umattend doon sa mga hearings. Pwede sana syang umattend doon to rebut the statements of Ms. Ruby Tuason. Pwede rin nyang sabihin doon kung ano pang nalalaman nya. So, ganoon sana," Trillanes said.

Estrada had then said that he would have wanted to attend the hearings in relation to the PDAF scam but was advised by his lawyers not to. The senator is accused of plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, Trillanes said that he was never approached by Tuason or Napoles.

"My office then was in Camp Crame until late 2010 so I never had the chance to meet her," the senator, who led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, said. Trillanes served his first term as elected senator while in detention.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, on the other hand, denied that his office was approached by Tuason.

"She did not approach my office. Hindi po iyan lumapit sa aking opisina. I knew that she was social secretary during the time of Erap," Drilon said. (With Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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