Is Tuason the smoking gun in pork scam? Senators think so

Posted at 02/13/14 3:28 PM

MANILA - The former aide of ex-President Joseph Estrada may have just wrapped the senators around her fingers with her testimony.

As far as Senate Blue Ribbon Committee head TG Guingona is concerned, her statements can be called a “three-point shot, buzzer beater, winning shot.” Senator Miriam Defensor, on the other hand, described Tuason’s statements as “bull’s eye”.

In a press conference after the hearing on Thursday, Guingona said he does not believe Tuason just wants to cut a deal in order to go scot-free from plunder charges.

“That’s the beauty of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings. You could see for yourself that [she’s telling the truth]…I don’t think that she was acting. It was an honest act of contrition. She even wants a clean break. She even wants to return the money,” he said.

Guingona did not answer directly if Tuason’s testimony will already pin down senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.

He insisted, “It’s still up to the courts. But in my opinion, she has a very, very strong evidence.”

He said the Senate will have to finish the hearings first before the committee could recommend charges against Estrada and Enrile. “Malakas ito, matindi ito.”

Santiago, for herself, said: “I am struck by the fact that your adversaries have done nothing except to issue denials. Like all trial lawyers, I have learned that a positive assertion like your affidavit is given more weight in law than a negative assertion like the denials of your adversaries.”

Guingona said it’s not a simple “he said, she said” story.

Tuason’s statements have been corroborated by the other whistleblowers.

Tuason alleged she personally gave Estrada’s kickbacks. In Enrile’s case, the money was handed to his chief of staff, Gigi Reyes.

While Enrile and Tuason did not interact face-to-face, “we must take into account also the circumstantial evidence versus Senator Enrile,” Guingona said.

Asked if Estrada should take a leave of absence while the pork scam issue is being heard, he said: “It’s up to [Estrada] to address that.”