Tuason visited Senate in 2008, video footage confirms

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Ruby Tuason, the potential state witness in the pork barrel scam, was at the Senate premises in three instances between November and December 2008, video footages checked by the Senate sergeant-at-arms show.

In the official report of Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia Jr. to Senate President Franklin Drilon, he said they saw "a lady that resembles Ms. Ruby Tuason" on November 17 and 19, and December 18.

Tuason was spotted at the Senate main lobby area, and the sixth floor elevator.

"It resembles Ms. Tuason. Hindi ko sigurado pero kamukha niya...May dala siyang shoulder bag. Yung normal na bag ng babae. Ordinaryo lang. Wala siyang ibang kasama," Balajadia told reporters.

Estrada was Senate President Pro-Tempore back in 2008. His office is located at the sixth floor of the Senate building.

Balajadia, however, said that they could not determine which office Tuason went because the position of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras has limitations.

"Hindi namin makikita pumapasok sa pinto kasi sa hallway, nakukuha namin tao pero hindi namin alam kung saan siya papasok kasi siyempre may limitations din. Ang importante yung paglabas sa elevator nakikita namin," he said.

Tuason had earlier said that he personally delivered pork barrel kickbacks to Estrada when she was acting as a "go-between" for alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles and lawmakers. Estrada is facing plunder for allegedly misusing his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Tuason said she carried a duffle bag in instances where she delivered at least P1 million worth of kickbacks to Estrada.

To recall, it was Estrada himself who requested from the office of Balajadia to release the video footage when Tuason supposedly visited the Senate premises.

In his privilege speech, Estrada cited Tuason's testimony wherein she said that the senator received kickbacks on March 6, September 17, and October 16 and 28 of the year 2008.

"'Yun daw po ang petsa na nakakuha ako di umano ng komisyon...Wala namang nakita na nagpunta siya ng March, September at October. Given all these facts, hahayaan ko na pong kayo ang gumawa ng sarili niyong konklusyon," Estrada said.

CCTV Rreview Progress Report by Sun.Star Philippine news

Special treatment on Tuason

Estrada also slammed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for seemingly giving "very special treatment" to Tuason.

The senator noted that Tuason was "fetched" by the National Bureau of Investigation before she testified in relation to the pork barrel scam, and was allowed to silently leave the country.

Tuason left the Philippines last March 2 bound for Hong Kong. Tuason's counsel said his client would likewise fly to Los Angeles, California to fulfill her commitment of returning the P40-million commission she received from the PDAF scam. She is set to return on April 5.

"Why is Secretary de Lima really angry? Is it because, as she said, the disclosure could compromise the security of Mrs. Tuason? Or was it because allowing Mrs. Tuason to leave the country immediately after poisoning the public's mind with her self-serving 'confessions' part of the secret deal she cut with the DOJ?" Estrada said.

Estrada said Tuason does not need to go abroad because her so-called Malampaya mansion at Dasmarinas Village in Makati City amounting to P45 million could already suffice.

Estrada said the Dasmarinas house was a product of her kickbacks amounting to P242 million from the Malampaya fund.

As if not content with the purchase of the posh mansion, Estrada said Tuason also put up Rubysons Inc. in October of 2009 while her two sons invested in a P80-million capitalized corporation engaged in micro-business activities.

Tuason likewise had a high-end jewelry store in a plush hotel in August of 2013 managed by her niece. She also bought shares worth P12 million for her two sons at the Manila Polo Club.

Estrada further said that Tuason owns a real estate property at the Las Vegas Country Club worth P6.3 million and another Oakland, California property worth $150,000.

"Kaya bakit po pinayagan pang umalis si Mrs. Tuason? Marami pa ba siyang mga ari-arian sa Amerika na ibebenta o marami pa siyang ari-arian na gusto niyang itago sa pangalan ng kanyang mga anak?" he said.

Estrada also belied Tuason's claims that her younger brother, Remy Chan, was the one who benefited from the Malampaya kickbacks.

"It was all too clever and very convenient for Mrs. Tuason to put all the blame and guilt on her dead brother, isn't it? As the known idiomatic expression goes - 'dead men tell no tales'," he said.

In fact, Estrada said Chan went to his office in 2008 to 2010 to seek medical assistance because he was suffering from cancer. (Sunnex)

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