De Lima: Cunanan, Tuason receiving death threats

Posted at 03/03/14 3:19 PM

MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said pork barrel scam case respondents-turned-state-witness-applicants Dennis Cunanan and Ruby Tuason are receiving threats to their lives.

De Lima said the threats are being received by the witnesses themselves, but refused to give details.

These threats are now being verified, she said.

De Lima assured that enough security measures are in place for the witnesses and whistleblowers, all of whom are under the department's Witness Protection Program (WPP).

"There are real security concerns surrounding Dennis Cunanan and the other witnesses. We are verifying, we want to be very careful," de Lima said.

Cunanan, on-leave Director General of the Technology Resource Center (TRC), had said his children are receiving calls from unidentified persons asking for information about their father and that the family's Quezon City residence is being "cased" by unidentified men.

De Lima bared that the families of the witnesses are also being secured.

The witnesses, meantime, will not be barred from speaking engagements such as the one recently done by Mrs. Tuason before a group of students.

"We cannot really prevent them, we have no choice but to allow them and secure them," de Lima said.

The justice chief said that the risks that accompany public appearances are being explained to the witnesses, but the witnesses will have the final say on whether to grant invitations for speaking engagements.

Despite the threats, Cunanan is set to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the "pork barrel" scam on Thursday.

Cunanan, in a 36-page affidavit, claimed that Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile, through his chief of staff, Atty. Gigi Reyes, funneled millions of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to alleged scam brains Janet Lim Napoles, through the TRC as implementing agency.

Revilla, Estrada, Enrile, Reyes, and Napoles are also respondents in the pork barrel scam case, now pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.