Estrada, Revilla to answer Cunanan charges next week

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

BELEAGUERED senators plan to deliver a privilege speech next week against state witness, former Technology Resource Center (TRC) deputy director general Dennis Cunanan who appeared in the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the pork barrel scam on Thursday.

The privilege speeches of Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. will refute Cunanan's accusations and present some alleged "damning" information which could put into question the former TRC head's credibility as a witness.

The two senators will deliver privilege speeches to show the inconsistencies in the testimony of the new witness.

Estrada hinted that the information already in his possession has something to do with Cunanan's work at the TRC and that on the latter's allegations that he himself actually talked to the senators on the phone and on whether he could prove that money changed hands between the two of them.

"Even today, if I deliver my privilege speech, I am very ready. This will be a surprise. I have the complete ammunitions against him," Estrada said.

Estrada belittled the testimony of Cunanan during the Blue Ribbon committee hearing, saying it is obviously scripted.

"His testimony is empty. He can say anything he wants. I'm not worried because I do not know him. I have never met him in the past," he said.

Estrada said a very reliable source told him that someone is behind Cunanan who instructed the latter to implicate the three of them.

The senator said his source had provided him information on Cunanan, including his modus operandi at the TLRC.

Revilla, who is also poised to deliver his second privilege speech on the pork barrel scam, chided Palace allegations on Cunanan being supposedly the subject of a demolition job.

Revilla said what Cunanan said during the hearing were all but lies.

"He is a liar. And what he did during the hearing was just to repeat all the lies he said in his affidavit. I will meet him in court," Revilla said.

Revilla's legal counsel, Joel Bodegon, said the sworn testimonies of pork scam main whistleblower Benhur Luy and Cunanan are contradicting each other on very material points.

"Sinabi ni Benhur Luy na personal niyang dinala yung pera na nagkakahalaga ng mga P960,000.00 para kay Cunanan, na nilagay niya sa supot at kanyang inabot kay Evelyn de Leon habang nandoon si Cunanan sa conference room sa opisina ni Janet Lim-Napoles sa Discovery Suites. Matapos nuon, sinabi ni Benhur Luy na dala ni Cunanan yung supot nang ito’y lumabas sa conference room. Malamya ang ginawang pagtanggi ni Cunanan sa madiin na sinabi ni Luy. Ang ibig sabihin lang ay di kayang pabulaanan ni Cunanan ang sinabi ni Luy sa kanyang Sinumpaang Salaysay, lalo na dahil hindi binago ni Luy ang kanyang salaysay. Magkaganun pa man, maaring nagsisinugaling si Luy o nagsisinungaling si Cunanan, o pareho silang nagsisinungaling," Bodegon told reporters.

Bodegon cited the inconsistencies of Cunanan when he earlier claimed that he has never set foot on Discovery Suites, "but when prodded, he stated that he has been there to inspect the office. Worse, the sworn statement of Luy that is clear and positive: Cunanan went to the Discovery Suites to get his commission, not to conduct any inspection."

The counsel of Revilla said he will challenge the credibility of Cunanan in the proper court as he confirmed that they will be filing several charges against Cunanan.

"He is a very good liar, but like all liars, the truth has revealed his lies," Bodegon said.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said he will need to review the testimony of Cunanan and compare his statements with other whistleblowers and review his demeanor if he is saying what is telling the whole truth.

"Only then will we be able to determine if his testimony is worthwhile," Guingona said.

Guingona said that based on the demeanor and the testimonies of other whistleblowers, they will evaluate the credibility of his testimony.

Despite the disparity of testimonies between Luy and Cunanan, Guingona said that it is premature to file perjury charges against Cunanan.

Whether or not Cunanan qualifies to be a state witness will be up to the DOJ.

"We can recommend, of course, but I rather leave that up to the Department of Justice. Anyway, that is not really within the scope of our authority," said Guingona.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, for her part, described Cunanan as a credible witness.

"He is a credible witness. He has knowledge of specific transactional details. Cunanan has knowledge that can pin down Senator Juan Ponce Enrile," Santiago said.

Santiago further explained that in the United States court a telephone conversation is considered direct evidence.

"He should be admitted as state witness, but that is up to the Sandigan(bayan) to decide," Santiago said.

But Santiago also question Cunanan's continuous refusal to admit receiving money from Napoles.

"He keeps claiming innocence which complicates matters. That muddles the issue. It is still possible that in the courtroom parts of his testimony may be considered false, but parts of his testimony may be credited as truth," Santiago said.

The conspiracy was also established, Santiago said as she maintained the testimony of Cunanan is valuable. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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