PDAF, Malampaya scams investigation getting interesting

Ruby Tuason

Ruby Tuason

I hope the much ballyhooed appearance of Ruby Tuason in the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya scams will do justice to the poor Filipinos disadvantaged over the distribution/allocation of funds for their livelihood programs and expose more the brazen plunder committed by the scam mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles, some lawmakers, government officials and their cohorts.

Tuason, like Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revill Jr., has also been charged with plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Marina Sula, one of the whistleblowers in the multi-billion-peso fund scam, had accused Tuason of collecting kickbacks from PDAF allocations in behalf of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.

In her desire to clear her name, she has decided to come back and, supposedly, to tell all, which will surely make the investigation interesting and damning.

The fact alone that she has been convinced to turn state witness and has been admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to her lawyer, Atty. Dennis Manalo, leaves no doubt that she will spill the beans to add more credence to the testimonies of the whistle blowers against those already implicated.

Expectations are high for her to tell the public of what she knows about the scams and being in the WPP, I hope fear will not be a factor anymore and patriotism and compassion for the least of her countrymen will prevail.

Tuason is said to be a former social secretary of former President Joseph Estrada and her plunder case before the Ombudsman arose for her alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam and the alleged misuse of the P900-million Malampaya Fund.

The Malampaya Fund represents royalties from the oil and gas operations in the waters off Palawan.

But sometime in October 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued an executive order expanding the use of the fund for other purposes, apart from energy-related projects. A total of P900 million was taken from the Malampaya Fund to assist farmers affected by natural calamities that year.

The money was earmarked for agrarian reform beneficiaries who were adversely affected by the back-to-back Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009, but the P900 million ended up in dubious NGOs that Napoles had formed.

In this case, Tuason is just one of the 24 people, that includes former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, charged with plunder  for allegedly receiving P242.775 million from the Malampaya fund in behalf of a “still unknown principal.”

While the recipient of the major share in the kickbacks from the P900-million Malampaya fund scam remains unknown, the DOJ is trying to determine the possible involvement of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo. But, this has been denied by Arroyo’s lawyers.

So we will see.

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