Mat Ranillo as state witness?
MANILA – Levito Baligod, lawyer of the pork barrel scam whistle-blowers, said it is still premature to say whether former actor Mat Ranillo III can be admitted as state witness in the pork barrel scam involving businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Baligod said Ranillo can only become state witness if he will be able to provide new information that will bolster the case against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and other legislators and personalities charged with plunder and malversation over the P10 billion scam.
"Ang sasabihin lang ni Mat ay totoo na ang iskema ni Ginang Napoles ay paggamit ng mga foundations para manakaw ang mga pondo ng bayan, at ia-admit lamang niya, na ang kliyente ni Ginang Napoles ay mga legislators. Alam na natin iyon," Baligod told dzMM.
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 the house of Justa Tantoco, a friend of the Estrada family.
Tuason said the money was meant for Senator Jinggoy Estrada as "kickback" from his pork barrel funds that were funneled to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) set up by Napoles.
Benhur Luy, primary whistle-blower and former Napoles aide, said Ranillo still has the vouchers used in his transactions with Napoles, copies of which were obtained by ABS-CBN News.
In voucher number 4289, Ranillo got more than P1 million in commission in 2005, from a P30-million project allegedly under the name of Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
That same year, Ranillo also got more than P1 million from a P71-million project allegedly under the name of Estrada's mother, then-Senator Loi Ejercito, based on voucher number 5472.
Still in 2005, Ranillo supposedly received almost P500,000 from a P10-million project also allegedly under Mrs. Ejercito's name, in voucher number 5787.
In another voucher, there's a combined P15-million project of a certain "Inay" and "Anak" in 2006 wherein Ranillo also got a commission.
The vouchers were submitted by the actor to a Marikina court in 2007 to prove that he was already paying for a vehicle he bought from Napoles through amounts which were being deducted from his commissions.
Luy has revealed that Napoles filed charges against Ranillo to recover the vehicle -- a case eventually dismissed after the parties reached a settlement.
Luy testified in the Senate that JLN deliberately made vouchers to counter those of Ranillo's, which were the authentic ones.
In the vouchers presented by JLN to the Marikina Court, the serial numbers were the same but the names of Senator Estrada and his mother did not appear.
"Sabi ni Madam [Napoles], gawa tayo another voucher na palalabasin natin hindi iyun [Ranillo's] ang voucher," Luy said.
In voucher 4289, airfare for a Hong Kong trip was deducted from Ranillo's commission as well.
A source also gave ABS-CBN News a photo showing the actor with Napoles and other friends on a trip abroad.
So far, Ranillo has not broken his silence on the controversy.
Senator Estrada, meanwhile, maintains he and his mother are innocent. – with ANC