Estrada confident despite Ombud grant of immunity to Tuason

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Friday, May 2, 2014

SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada on Friday belittled the immunity granted by the Office of the Ombudsman to pork barrel scam state witness Ruby Tuason.

Estrada, in a television interview, said he is not affected as he described Tuason as a "very weak" witness for allegedly concocting her own story just to be able to pin him down in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Estrada said he is not anymore surprised by the recent development but remain confident that he will be able to defend himself in court at the right time.

"At the onset, I expected that although she was included as one of the accused by the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and in the joint resolution in earlier issued by the Ombudsman to make it appear that there was a semblance of fairness to this ongoing investigation," he said.

"We all know that this is already a done deal and the only real targets of this persecution from the very beginning are the three senators (Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.)," Estrada added.

The three senators are facing graft and plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim Napoles.

Estrada said it is lamentable that Tuason, whom she described as the mastermind of the Malampaya scam, can get away with her crime.

"I know that she is the mastermind of the so-called Malampaya scam. But I am confident that we will be victorious in the end and Mrs. Tuason will crumble in cross examination," Estrada said.

Estrada together with Enrile and Revilla are accused of receiving millions of kickbacks from their PDAF allegedly diverted to bogus non-government organizations of Napoles using government agencies as conduits.

Estrada said in case the charges filed against them will be elevated before the Sandiganbayan, he is ready to face the charges as he revealed that his lawyers are prepared with all the evidences that will clear him in the end.

Tuason, a former social secretary of former President Joseph Estrada, formally testified in the Senate blue ribbon last February, wherein she attests delivering the kickbacks to Senator Estrada in several instances. Estrada denied Tuason's claim.

Tuason returned to the Philippines after she flew back to the United States and returned the P40-million commission she got from pork barrel deals to the government. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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