FORMER social secretary Ruby Tuason admitted on Monday that she acted as bagman for Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada for the latter's kickbacks in the pork barrel scam.
Tuason, who testified during Estrada's bail hearing before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, said she delivered some P19 million at the Senate office of Estrada on several occasions.
She added that she had also delivered cash to Estrada's home in Greenhills in San Juan City and at the senator's satellite office Pacific Star Building in Makati City.
Tuason said she decided to reveal everything that she knows about the transactions of Estrada with alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Napoles after the senator distanced himself from her when the anomaly started hitting the headlines in mid-2013.
"I decided to choose between friendship and the truth. I chose truth," said Tuason, who was a family friend of the Estradas.
Tuason said she fled the country in 2013 after Estrada repeatedly refused to provide her a lawyer who could defend her case in court.
While in the United States, Tuazon said Estrada called her twice and informed her about the government's probe into the anomaly. When she reiterated her request for a lawyer, Tuason said Estrada told her that they were in the "same boat."
Tuason said Estrada's mother former senator Loi Ejercito, who called her twice in the US, did not answer her when she made the same request.
"I realized something. I thought they were my friends. I guessed they're not," Tuason said.
Last year, Tuason returned some P40 million, the amount of kickbacks she alleged received from the pork barrel anomaly, before she was admitted into the Witness Protection Program of the government.
Estrada, meanwhile, dismissed Tuason's testimony as "lies" saying she only wanted to save herself.
Tuason will return to the witness stand on June 29.
Estrada is currently detained that the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City over plunder and graft charges related to the pork barrel scam. (Sunnex)