DOJ to re-evaluate protection grant to Cunanan

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Sunday, June 8, 2014


MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) will re-evaluate its decision granting state protection to Technology Resource Center (TRC) head on-leave Dennis Cunanan who failed to get immunity from pork barrel scam charges.

"We will re-evaluate his provisional WPP coverage in light of the Ombudsman's decision rejecting his plea (for immunity). But like Napoles, he has other (legal) options," Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Friday.

In February, Cunanan was given provisional coverage under the DOJ's Witness Protection Program (WPP) pending the Office of the Ombudsman's assessment of his testimony that he was pressured by Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. to hasten the implementation of their ghost projects charged to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

However, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, in a 16-page joint order dated June 2, denied Cunanan's motion for reconsideration and application for immunity from criminal prosecution.

Morales said Cunanan did not meet the qualifications to be discharged as immune witness.

The Ombudsman said there is no "absolute necessity" for his testimony and that "there are other direct evidence available, both testimonial and documentary, for the proper prosecution of the offenses committed."

Cunanan's credibility was questioned when whistleblower Benhur Luy said in March that the TRC official was involved in the scam.

Luy said Cunanan got P960,000 as commission for helping fake non-government organizations in their illegal activities, an accusation the latter categorically denied.

Senators Estrada, Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile were charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan on Friday for endorsing and receiving multi-million peso kickback from businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the PDAF scam.

Cunanan and other government officials who allegedly conspired with Napoles will be included in the next batch of criminal cases. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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