Senators urge Estrada to name names

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada owes it to the public and his colleagues who are not involved in the pork barrel scam to name the other senators who were allegedly offered projects by Ruby Tuason, Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Vicente Sotto III said Thursday.

Estrada earlier refused to name the former and incumbent senators who were supposedly offered bogus projects to be funded by their pork barrel allocations.

"I wish he would do it (name names) as soon as possible...Because it places all of us under a clout. It's unfair for us who are not implicated and it will also prove that he is in good faith when he makes general statements and backs it up with specific details. It will improve his credibility," Santiago said.

Santiago recalled that the public would not have known about the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the Aquino administration if Estrada then did not disclose the spending program in his privilege speech.

"Perhaps, we should grant him the benefit of the doubt that there were other senators. I really would like to know who they are in the first place. I'm just curious by nature, sino kaya itong mga ito?" Santiago said.

Estrada had earlier said that it's not in his character to involve other senators in such a controversy. The senator, along with Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, is facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Tuason, who is applying to be a state witness, had testified before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that she personally delivered bags of commission to Estrada several times back in 2008 until the senator directly dealt with alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

According to Tuason, she would sometimes deliver the kickbacks at Estrada's office in the Senate.

Aside from Estrada, Tuason said she also had dealings with lawyer Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, the former chief of staff of Enrile, concerning the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation of Enrile.

Estrada had asked the Senate security to release the video footage of the 5th floor of the Senate premises from the year 2010 onwards. He said this would show who among the senators were visited by Tuason.

Senator Sotto, who is also being connected to the PDAF scam, said Estrada should fully disclose what he knows.

"Yes, I'm in favor of that para hindi madamay yung walang kinalaman," Sotto told Sun.Star in a text message.

Sotto said he knows Tuason personally but denied any involvement in the misuse of funds. "I know her but I do not have dealings with her. I don't think (she visited me at the office)," Sotto said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier said Estrada himself should file a Senate resolution calling for an investigation on Tuason's supposed visits to other senators. (Sunnex)

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