DOJ won’t lift protection for TRC official yet

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Friday, June 20, 2014

TECHNOLOGY Resource Center (TRC) head on-leave Dennis Cunanan will not yet be dropped from the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) despite the filing of a graft case against him due to the pork barrel scam.

After a meeting with Cunanan's camp on Friday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said they will only re-evaluate his WPP status once the Office of the Ombudsman issues a decision on the TRC official's renewed appeal for immunity from charges.

Cunanan was given provisional coverage under WPP last February pending the Ombudsman's assessment of his testimony that he was pressured by Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. to hasten the implementation of their ghost projects under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

But in a 16-page joint order dated June 2, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales denied Cunanan's motion for reconsideration and application for immunity from criminal prosecution for not meeting the qualifications to be discharged as immune witness.

The Ombudsman said there is no "absolute necessity" for his testimony and that "there are other direct evidence available, both testimonial and documentary, for the proper prosecution of the offenses committed."

His credibility was also put under question when whistleblower Benhur Luy said in a Senate inquiry in March that the TRC official got P960,000 as commission for helping the non-government organizations (NGOs) of businesswoman Janet Napoles in implementing the dubious projects, an accusation he categorically denied.
Cunanan posted bail for seven counts of graft at the Sandiganbayan in relation to Revilla's cases on Friday. (Sunnex)

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