Trillanes says Tuason testimony suspicious

Posted at 02/14/14 11:05 AM

MANILA - Sen. Antonio Trillanes on Friday said he is suspicious about the testimony of socialite Ruby Tuason because she is not telling the whole truth about the pork barrel scandal.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Trillanes said Tuason was holding back during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing and had based her recollection of the kickbacks she allegedly gave Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile on the accounting records of whistle-blower Benhuy Luy.

He said this will not hold up in court if Tuason is under direct examination by defense lawyers.

"So far, I am not convinced about the testimony of Mrs. Ruby Tuason. She knows a lot and she can be a very credible witness if only she will not hold back," he said.

"She kept a lot of details off....She was saying it's more than P9 million stated in the affidavit, broken down into 5 transactions and yet she wasn't able to fill that in. In the affidavit it is only P9 million and remember P9 million is below the plunder threshold," he added.

Trillanes said Tuason admitted that she received P40 million in commissions from Janet Napoles while also allegedly delivering P77 million in kickbacks to Atty. Gigi Reyes, the alleged chief aide of Senator Enrile. He said the alleged kickbacks of the senators, totaling over P80 million, were "too low" if they indeed received 40% in commissions of their PDAF.

He also said Tuason practically cleared Enrile in the pork barrel scam when she said that she did not know if Enrile was aware that his priority development assistance funds were going to fake NGOs of Janet Lim Napoles.

"She was practically defending Senator Enrile, that she didn't meet Senator Enrile or talk to him about the PDAF. When I tried to press further, she just believes the senator had an inkling of anomalous transactions and that statement will not hold in court," he said.

The senator said he became very suspicious when he examined Tuason's affidavit, which was "too thin, lacked details and dealt in generalities."

"What is happening here is she believes that her testimony no matter how scant it was will be enough to get her out of the case but not enough to pin down some favored...friends," he said.

He also said he received information that Tuason's lawyer, Dennis Manalo, used to be part of the law firm of Senator Enrile.

"When I dug deeper, my suspicions grew. I think one of the lawyers of Miss Ruby Tuason used to be part of the Ponce law firm, Atty Dennis Manalo. I have yet to validate that information but I got it from credible sources. I think we have a problem there, conflict of interest at the very least and collusion at most," he said.

In basketball lingo, Trillanes said Tuason's testimony was just a "dribble", which is contrary to Sen. TG Guingona's statement that it was a "buzzer-beating three-point shot."

"It was her shining moment. It was her time to show the public that she really wants to tell the truth...but she fell short of it," he said.

The senator said he told witness protection officials that Tuason's testimony is not enough for her to be accepted into the Witness Protection Program.