Guingona eyes ‘no-holds-barred’ Blue Ribbon hearing

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


IN THE interest of transparency, it will be a no-holds-barred hearing on Thursday as state witness Ruby Tuason is set to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee in relation to the controversial pork barrel scam, Senator Teofisto Guingona III said Tuesday.

Guingona is the chairperson of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, which is investigating the controversy over the misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) through bogus non-government organizations.

"This (hearing) will be no holds barred in the spirit of transparency, openness. It will be like the other hearings. It will be no holds barred," Guingona told reporters.

Tuason, a longtime friend of and social secretary to former President Joseph Estrada, had disclosed that she acted as bagman for businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and personally delivered kickbacks to Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Both Estrada and Enrile are facing plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman over their alleged role in the PDAF scam.

Aside from Tuason, other PDAF scam whistleblowers were also invited to the hearing, including Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas, and Marina Sula.

"Para ma-corroborate at kung pwede ma-compare yung sinabi nung isa at sinabi nung isa para at least magkakaroon ng malinaw na corroboration at pagkakatugma ng testimonies nila," Guingona said.

Napoles meanwhile will no longer be invited by the Senate panel.

"If her stance should be the same as before, 'I do not remember, I do not know, I deny' then it might be an exercise in futility," Guingona said.

Napoles is now detained at the Fort Santo Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the alleged illegal detention of Luy.

Guingona said he also plans to ask Tuason when she personally delivered kickbacks to Estrada at the Senate basement parking.

Senator Estrada had earlier asked the Senate sergeant-at-arms to produce the video footage of the alleged visits of Tuason.

Meanwhile, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago reiterated her request to interpellate Tuason at exactly 11 a.m.

"My reason for this unusual request is that I suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, which allows me to participate in any event outside my house only for some two hours," she said. (Sunnex)

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