BI spokesperson to apologize to De Lima

Posted at 03/06/14 3:48 PM

MANILA - After causing the ire of her boss, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, for divulging information about the departure for Hong Kong of Ruby Tuason, Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson Maria Angelica Pedro said on Thursday that she will apologize to the justice chief.

“We are under her (De Lima) supervision, so there’s no point not to (apologize),” Pedro said in a text message.

De Lima got mad at Pedro on Wednesday after the latter confirmed to mediamen that Tuason, who has provisional Witness Protection Program (WPP) coverage, left for Hong Kong on Sunday night via a Cathay Pacific flight, and had booked a flight back to the Philippines on April 5th.

Tuason is a respondent in the "pork barrel" scam cases, but has applied to turn state witness, and the Office of the Ombudsman is now weighing the materiality of her testimony.

The justice chief stressed that the WPP Law prohibits the publicizing of the movements and whereabouts of WPP witnesses, in consideration of their safety.

Tuason's lawyer, Dennis Manalo, also confirmed Tuason's travel, adding that Tuason was actually bound for the United States to make arrangements for the financing of the P40 million she offered to return to government.

The amount supposedly represents the commissions she got for brokering the deal between alleged "pork" scam architect Janet Lim Napoles and the camps of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, who allotted portions of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Napoles foundations and NGOs.