MANILA - Senator Cynthia Villar said she is the one identified by Senator Jinggoy Estrada to have dined at the house of Ruby Tuason in Dasmarinas Village at the height of the elections last year.
In a statement, Villar said: "I have known Ms. Ruby Tuason since she was the social secretary of former President Joseph Estrada. My husband Manny Villar was then the Speaker of the House."
"I had dinner with Ms. Tuason and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, but it was purely social. She was trying to bring me closer to Sen. Jinggoy since he is planning to run for a higher position."
The Dasmarinas Village house is the so-called Malampaya mansion that Estrada had alleged in a previous privilege speech.
Tuason alleged she had delivered the pork kickbacks to Estrada’s office. To discredit his father’s former social secretary, Estrada claimed Tuason received the biggest kickbacks from the Malampaya fund scam.
Estrada, nonetheless, dismissed any malice in the dinner with the "neophyte" senator.
"There is nothing wrong if we had dinner. Wala namang masama roon. Hindi naman porke nakipag-dinner e may dealings na. Hindi naman ganoon,” he said.
He said the senator actively participated in the hearings on the pork barrel scam but did not show any biases despite being a member of the majority bloc.