GMA denies she is Ruby Tuason's 'principal'
MANILA - The camp of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday denied that she is the unidentified principal of Ruby Chan Tuason, whose husband is a cousin of Mike Arroyo.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, lawyer Raul Lambino said Mrs. Arroyo has no link at all to Mrs. Tuason, who is accused of pocketing P242 million in kickbacks from the Malampaya fund.
He said Ruby and Arroyo's cousin, Bobby Tuason, were already separated even before Mrs. Arroyo became vice-president in 1998.
"Hindi natin alam yung kanyang principals. Pati Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation are saying they have not yet uncovered the principal of this Ms. Tuason. The slant that they give 3 days ago na porket Tuason ang kanyang apelyido at Tuason and middle name ni Mr. Arroyo, they are trying to connect. They are not related at all," he said.
"Tuason is the second of 4 wives of the late Bobby Tuason. They were separated before Arroyo became VP in 1998," he added.
In the interview, Lambino said there was nothing wrong with Mrs. Arroyo's decision to tap P900 million in Malampaya funds to help victims of Tropical Storm "Ondoy" and Typhoon "Pepeng" in 2009.
Lambino said Mrs. Arroyo used Presidential Decree 910 issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos as basis for using the Malampaya fund to help storm victims.
He said President Aquino is using the same decree to tap the Malampaya funds for the purchase of ships for the Philippine Navy.
"It is not wrong for the President to make use of the Malampaya funds pursuant to the provision of Presidential Decree 910. Section 8 in particular provides that the Malampaya funds can be used for such other purposes as may be directed and authorized by the president. This was issued by the then late President Ferdinand Marcos," he said in the interview.
Lambino said the Malampaya fund during Arroyo's term was more or less P40 billion. It has since ballooned to P130 billion under President Aquino.
He also denied that Mrs. Arroyo pocketed the Malampaya funds, saying the former president merely issued Executive Order 848 authorizing the Department of Budget and Management to release the Malampaya funds for projects helping Ondoy and Pepeng victims.
"That is the only participation of the president, yung pag issue ng EO. Wala na siyang ibang pinirmahan. Ganun naman talaga ang sistema. Hindi naman nakikialam amg presidente sa implementation ng proyekto," he said.
He added: "Meron tayong tinatawag ng principle of regularity in the performance of function...Mali ang ginawa ng DOJ masyado nilang piniga, nag overstretching. They're trying to interpret the law strictly against the respondents."
He also noted that Aquino is using the same presidential decree to tap the Malampaya funds to buy ships for the Armed Forces.
"This is what they are using, probably P55 billion from Malampaya to buy ships," he said.
Arroyo is currently facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged misuse of the Malampaya funds. Whistle-blowers earlier said pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles prepared fake letter-requests to the DBM to get the funds.
Lambino, however, said none of the whistle-blowers have mentioned Mrs. Arroyo in their sworn affidavits. He said Mrs. Arroyo never met Mrs. Napoles during her term and did not get any kickbacks from her.