More pork scam respondents send feelers: De Lima

Posted at 02/14/14 6:09 PM

MANILA -- Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) welcomes actor Mat Ranillo III's reported willingness to cooperate in the pork barrel scam probe.

De Lima said Ranillo's testimony will be vetted, and he may be considered as an ordinary witness if at all he will detail his participation, if any, in the scam.

"Of course kung totoo yan na...he sent feelers already na he wants to cooperate, the first step is pakikinggan muna namin kung ano ang alam niya at yung isi-share niya. And we'll see kung ano magiging value niya," she said.

"Remember Mat Ranillo naman is not yet a respondent or not a respondent in any case so pwedeng ordinary witness lang siya na pwedeng makatulong sa kaso. Titignan namin kung what exactly naging role niya," she added.

Ruby Tuason, a former aide of ex-President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, claimed in her affidavit that Ranillo delivered over P11 million in pork barrel kickbacks to Justa Tantoco, a friend of the Estrada family.

Tuason claimed that the money was meant for Senator Jinggoy Estrada as "kickback" from his priority development assistance funds (PDAF) that were funneled to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) set up by Janet Lim Napoles.

Ranillo also allegedly received payment vouchers from Napoles' JLN Corporation.

Meanwhile, De Lima also said other respondents in the two pork barrel scam cases and one Malampaya fund scam case with the Ombudsman are also sending feelers of them coming forward and cooperating in the NBI investigations.

The justice secretary, however, refused to give further details.

She said anybody who wants to turn witness will be vetted, and their testimony weighed for materiality.