Ruby Tuason links Mat Ranillo to pork barrel scam
MANILA (UPDATED) - As the Senate is set to resume its probe on the pork barrel scam Thursday, another famous personality has been dragged into the multibillion-peso controversy.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into the possible involvement of actor Mat Ranillo in the scam.
In her affidavit submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation, socialite and former Palace aide Ruby Tuason claimed Ranillo delivered over 11 million pesos in alleged pork barrel kickbacks to a friend of the Estrada family identified as Justa Tantoco.
Tuason claimed the money was meant for Sen. Jinggoy Estrada as kickbacks from his pork barrel funds that were funneled to non-government organizations set up by Janet Lim Napoles.
De Lima said Ranillo also received payment vouchers from JLN Corporation, which is owned by Napoles.
"So nung we got wind of that case involving Mat Ranillo that has something to do with recovery of sums of money in relation to certain transactions, akalain nyo, merong copy ng voucher dun, so that supports the claim of whistle-blowers na may certain transactions na may cash voucher," the justice secretary said.
Levito Baligod, the lawyer of the pork scam whistle-blowers, earlier said he received information that it was Ranillo who introduced Napoles to some lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
He said Ranillo and Napoles had a falling-out after the businesswoman decided she no longer needed the actor after he made the introductions.
"Nung mga congressman pa lang ang kanyang kliyente, si Mat Ranillo na po ang nagpakilala. Ang unang mga kliyente ni Mrs. Napoles ay mga congressman. Nagkaroon sila ng alitan dahil nung nalaman na ni Mrs. Napoles yung congressman, siya ay dumederecho at na etsa puwera na si Mat Ranillo," he said in a radio DZMM interview.
Tuason has admitted to acting as a conduit between Napoles and Senators Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Fashion designer Eddie Baddeo, who was among the first whistleblowers to come out against Napoles, also alleged that Ranillo was involved in the scam.
Baddeo has admitted that Napoles used him as an agent for projects in the countryside with the help of some local officials.
He said he later found out that the deals involved "ghost projects."
Baddeo said Napoles asked him to focus on officials in Central Luzon, while Ranillo was tasked to talk to other officials.
"Ginamit rin niya dito si Mat Ranillo," he said.
Baddeo has submitted documents and an affidavit to the NBI.
He said Napoles used many famous personalities in the scam.
"Marami kaming ginamit, ayaw lang nila lumabas," he said. "Wala akong ginawang marumi."
Baddeo, in a new text message, told ABS-CBN News that truth will prevail in the case. He also expressed support for Tuason, Luy, and other whistleblowers.
ABS-CBN News is still trying to get the side of Ranillo regarding the allegations made against him.
Napoles, Tuason, Estrada, Enrile, Senator Bong Revilla, and several others are facing plunder complaints over the pork barrel scam.
Napoles, Estrada, Enrile, and Revilla have denied the allegations of corruption and plunder. - with a report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News