Senator wants Blue Ribbon panel to summon ex-TRC chief 

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Friday, February 21, 2014

SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago is set to file an urgent resolution directing the Blue Ribbon committee to summon former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan in relation to the pork barrel scam hearings. 

"It is in the public's strong interest for Cunanan to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee's ongoing hearing on the PDAF scam; he can divulge information on the criminal involvement of certain public officials in the scam, and how the scam is perpetuated through the exploitation of loopholes in the disbursement of government funds," Santiago said. 

The resolution will be filed on Monday, February 24. 

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had said that Cunanan, a respondent in the plunder complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the pork barrel scam, is now considered a provisional state witness. 

The TRC, which is under the Department of Science and Technology, was one of the agencies used as a pork conduit by alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles. 

"Cunanan reportedly applied to be state witness in October 2013, and submitted an affidavit to the NBI; he purportedly wants to bare details of his dealings with Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. concerning the release of the latter’s PDAF to dubious nongovernment organizations," Santiago's draft resolution said. 

"Cunanan reportedly cited an incident when Sen. Revilla gave him adressing down for his failure to process a request from the latter; Cunanan and his staff allegedly had to work the whole day on December 23 just to process some papers demanded by Sen. Revilla," the senator added. 

Senator Revilla had denied any involvement in the pork barrel scam, citing the testimony of whistleblower Benhur Luy that they forged the signatures of Napoles' clients. 

Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon panel, earlier told repoters that they have yet to schedule the next hearing following a heated argument with Senator Jinggoy Estrada. 

Estrada slammed Guingona for "prejudging" him during a previous hearing wherein Ruby Tuason testified that she personally delivered Estrada's commissions. 

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III proposed that the Senate committee on ethics be tasked to handle the probe while Senate President Franklin Drilon said it would be better to leave the investigation to the Ombudsman. 

Estrada and Revilla, along with Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, have been accused with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman. (Sunnex)

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