Tuason to undergo procedure before becoming a state witness

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Saturday, February 8, 2014


MALACANANG on Saturday clarified that Ruby Tuason, a conduit in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, will undergo normal procedures before actually being accepted as a state witness.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there are requirements Tuason must meet to become a state witness in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

"Meron tayong batas at standard na tinitingnan. Kung pumasok sila sa standard, pwede sila mag-avail of the witness protection program. This does not apply only to Ruby Tuason. For any criminal offense where a person who participated in the crime (and) whose participation is not the most guilty, the law allows them to testify and shed truth to the matter," he said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

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He said that even in the United States, the law allows whistleblowers to "help facilitate and expedite the revelation and uncovering of (the) truth" in a judicial proceeding.

But Lacierda stressed there are procedures and requirements for one to become a state witness.

Tuason returned to the Philippines on Friday and offered to testify on the PDAF mess. In her affidavit, Tuason reportedly said that she delivered PDAF kickbacks to Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile. She also claimed of witnessing the delivery of proceeds from the Malampaya funds to the former legal counsel of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Estrada and Arroyo's lawyer both denied the allegations.

Tuason, along with Enrile and Estrada and more than other 30 others, are facing plunder charges for the PDAF scam before the Office of the Ombudsman. Another plunder case was filed against her in connection with the Malampaya funds.

Lacierda said the Ombudsman is now evaluating Tuason's testimony and will determine if she could become a state witness. (SDR/Sunnex)

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