Trillanes fears downgrading of charges vs colleagues

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Friday, February 14, 2014

MANILA -- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday said that he fears that the cases against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile may be downgraded to a simple graft case if the figures mentioned by Ruby Tuason in her testimony in the Senate are to be believed.

Trillanes said that if the amount falls under P50 million, the charges can be downgraded from plunder to graft.

According to the senator, there were no figures mentioned in the affidavit of Tuason, a potential state witness, but she mentioned figures of P8 million to P10 million, which she said she delivered to Estrada.


Based on the documents submitted, there was no mention of the total amounts delivered and the senator fears the possibility of a downgrade of the criminal charges.

Estrada laughed off the testimony of socialite whistleblower Tuason as he explained the glaring loopholes in the testimony of Tuason who said that he delivered the money amounting to P8 million to P10 million.

"If that is the case then they cannot file plunder case against me. For a plunder case to be elevated in the Sandiganbayan would require P50 million and above," Estrada said.

Estrada noted that while Tuason tried to pin him down, saying that he personally received the alleged "kickbacks" from Janet Lim Napoles through her, "Tuason could not ascertain the exact amount of monies she claimed she delivered to me in the Senate building or in Greenhills residence."

Estrada said that even in the case of Enrile, Tuason cannot answer directly and precisely on whether or not she is sure that Senate Majority Leader is aware of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) transaction.

During the hearing, Tuason when being asked by senators on the participation of Enrile merely said that he was present on different occasions but could not provide even any categorical declaration on the minority leader's pocketing tens of millions of misused PDAF even as she repeatedly claimed that it was the lawmaker's resigned chief-of-staff, lawyer Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes, who would collect his supposed "share" of the loot.

Whether Reyes indeed acted merely as representative or broker of Enrile was left unanswered as Tuason herself confessed that to this day, she remained unsure whether the Senate Minority Leader was actually benefiting from the purported "cuts" in the deals with Napoles, Estrada said.

It was during Trillanes' grilling that the matter was discussed, as Tuason admitted having a chance encounter with Enrile only twice whenever she went to meet up with Reyes in restaurants and other public places to hand over alleged millions of kickback in cold cash contained in bags.

But for Senator Grace Poe the testimony of Tuason last Thursday is certainly a big help and makes the cases against those charged in the pork barrel scam much stronger.

The neophyte Senator said that her eyewitness report on the transactions of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles certainly makes the case much stronger. But without the testimony of Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers her testimony becomes weak.

But because there is a corroboration of evidence with the whistleblowers, this made the case against the accused senators involved much stronger.

Meanwhile, both Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Miriam Santiago expressed the same view that Napoles is not qualified to become a state witness considering her major role in the PDAF scam. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

Local news

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