Exclusive by Raïssa Robles
I am posting in full with my annotations the sworn statement that socialite-whistleblower Ruby Tuason made in San Francisco, California when she applied for the government Witness Protection Program and before she testified at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
The only comments I made are to put Tuason’s statements in context of actual and other related events.
It’s interesting to note that if Tuason’s statements are true, two senators of the land allegedly started obtaining kickbacks soon after they sat in office in 2004. One was newly-elected first-time Senator Jinggoy Estrada who was even then facing a plunder case for a similar offense – receiving kickbacks from the illegal gambling game jueteng. The other was Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who had been re-elected to the Senate after failing his re-election bid in 2001.
It is also interesting note that a Senate probe on Napoles’ alleged participation in the fertilizer fund scam was stopped dead in the Senate when Enrile became Senate President in 2008 and while Sen. Jinggoy Estrada held the No. 2 post – that of Senate President pro tempore.
But the most interesting thing of all is that, to date, Atty Gigi Reyes has not issued any denial regarding any of Ruby Tuason’s statements. Nor has she denied receiving any cash in behalf of Senator Enrile.
If you recall, Gigi Reyes issued the following statement last September on the pork scam:
Statement of Atty Gigi Reyes on pork barrel scam
By GIGI GONZALES REYES September 23, 2013 2:26pm
I left the country last August 31 to seek some peace and quiet amid the barrage of adverse and downright insulting publicity and commentary against me in the mainstream and social media.
I and my family have been deeply disturbed and hurt by the continuous slanted and patently biased reportage regarding my alleged involvement in the so-called “10-Billion PDAF scam.” Strangers and some elements from the media have attempted to get to our residence pretending to be my relatives.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, in particular, has been especially cruel. Even as I tried to answer in all candor and honesty the texted questions of its reporter, Norman Bordadora, the PDI maliciously twisted my reply. The next day, due to my protestations over such misrepresentation, all the PDI could do was to issue a tiny “erratum”, claiming that the omission was a “clerical error.”
Among the private individuals apart from Ms. Janet Napoles who are being implicated in the investigation of the PDAF anomalies, it is apparent that the PDI and several other media outlets have trained their focus on me. In fact, in just one newscast, ABS-CBN flashed my photograph four times.
The PDI evidently has an ax to grind against me. I say so because in a private dinner in Rockwell a few months back where I accompanied my former boss, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, PDI Editor-in-Chief Mrs. Letty Jimenez Magsanoc openly told us about her deep personal hurt over the Senator’s published “Memoirs” which recounted the beginnings of the PDI and what she called the “unfair” portrayal of Ms. Eugenia “Eggie” Apostol.
The Senator told Mrs. Magsanoc and the others present at that dinner that I was the one who convinced him to write, finish and publish his memoirs. They resent me because of my role in the Memoir and due to my association with Senator Enrile, and for that, I have never gotten any fair treatment from the PDI. They are determined to destroy me totally. My photograph is juicy fodder for the rumor mill and incidentally, it makes good copy for their newspaper.
This kind of media treatment has inflicted so much torment and trauma on my children and my whole family. I wanted to talk to my children to somehow insulate them and prepare them for worse things to come.
True enough, THE WORST BLOW HAS JUST BEEN DEALT UPON ME BY NO LESS THAN THE CAMP OF SENATOR JUAN PONCE ENRILE- THE MAN I SERVED WITH FULL DEDICATION, HONESTY AND LOYALTY FOR 25 YEARS.
A certain Atty. Enrique dela Cruz has been doing the media rounds saying that Senator Enrile did not give his blessings to any of the acts I performed on his behalf. He directly accused me of doing things without the Senator’s knowledge and going beyond the authority conferred upon me. Not content, Atty. dela Cruz goes on to say that the office of the Senator was investigating me for what he calls “katiwalian”, and that I, NOT THE SENATOR, will be liable.
I have lost contact with Senator Enrile and this very tragic development is beyond my comprehension. Does this Atty. dela Cruz REALLY know whereof he speaks? Really?
The last time I spoke to the Senator from abroad, he maintained that he will stand by the authority he issued to me and that all that I did was faithful and pursuant to his instructions. He even told me to be strong; that we will fight together to prove the accusations against us are false and fabricated.
I never once thought that this day would come. I never stepped on anyone’s toes nor abused my position in all the years I served in the Senate. But I have earned the bitter ire and enmity of some people by and large because and in defense of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
IF INDEED THESE STATEMENTS ARE SANCTIONED BY OR COMING FROM MY FORMER BOSS, THEN NOTHING CAN BE WORSE THAN THIS KIND OF TRAVESTY AND BETRAYAL.
Before I left, I had already engaged the services of my legal counsel to prepare for my defense because as things stood, it was a foregone conclusion that I would be included in the complaint long bruited about by Atty. Levito Baligod. Atty. Baligod interestingly hails from Tuao, Cagayan Province- the stronghold of the Enriles’ political adversaries in local politics.
I have yet to confront my accusers and the supposed “evidence” against me. I have every intention to defend myself, my name and my honor and to acquit myself of all the baseless charges and blatant lies being spread about me and those contained in perjured affidavits of so-called whistle-blowers.
I grieve at how all the dirt, harsh judgment, blame and vicious publicity heaped upon me has besmirched my family and the good honor and memory of my late father, Pat H. Gonzales, former editor-in-chief of the Manila Bulletin, and that of my late father-in-law, Ambassador Vicente G. Reyes.
There may be no saints among us and I do not profess to be one. Yet, as it has been in all of human history, it is easy for sinners to cast stones.
I have faith in GOD and my fate rests solely in His Hands and in His Divine Mercy.
In this context, let us now read Ruby Tuason’s sworn statement.
Page 1 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason is told of her rights under the Constitution and she states she “completely understands” her rights and is making the sworn statement of her own free will.
Page 2 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason states she is accompanied by her two lawyers – Dennis Manalao and Benedicto Valerio.
Page 3 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason states she fled to the US after learning of the government probe on the pork barrel scam.
She confirms she personally knows Napoles.
Page 4 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason explains how she met Napoles through her late husband in 2004.
Tuason said she and Napoles both invested in a “a company that would develop beach-front properties”. [NOTE 1: However, there is no record of such a company at the Securities and Exchange Corporation which has Napoles as a part-owner.]
Tuason confirms she knows the JLN Corporation and used to visit its office in discovery Suites, Pasig City.
[NOTE 2: Tuason can also be asked about the visits of the Black Nazarene icon to Napoles’ home since she said she attended “mass together” with Napoles at the latter’s home in Forbes Park.
[NOTE 3: Tuason said “she (Napoles) often invited me to parties…(and to) lunch.” This statement is verified by an external source, namely, a Philippine Daily Inquirer report entitled “Louie Cruz rewrites rules of partying” dated May 16, 2009 in its Entertainment Section written by Larry Leviste. Below is what Leviste calls the “Fourth Commandment” of a party planner:
4) Thou must have muses to help act as de facto hostesses. Louie had Ruby Tuazon, Jenny Napoles, Carina Sarfati.
Page 5 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason confirms she personally picked up the kickbacks of Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile from the condo unit of Napoles at No. 18-B Pacific Plaza Towers. But she adds that she personally coursed the kickback of Enrile “thru his chief of Staff, Atty Gigi Reyes.
Tuason states she is a personal friend of Gigi Reyes long before she started relaying Enrile’s kickbacks through Gigi. And she has personally met Senator Enrile because both stood as godparents in one wedding.
As for Sen. Jinggoy, she states that she was once the Social Secretary of President Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy’s dad.
Page 6 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Ruby Tuason states she was not being paid by the senators for getting their kickbacks from Napoles. She states she got a commission from Napoles herself.
She states it was she who personally told Senator Jinggoy Estrada that Napoles was willing to give him a 40% kickback, less 5% “tax”. Napoles could even “advance” the money to Sen. Jinggoy.
Page 7 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Ruby Tuason explains that that all the senators had to do was write the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to course the pork money through a Napoles NGO.
Ruby Tuason states that Estrada initially agreed to the arrangement by coursing P37.5 million of his pork. Tuason said Napoles gave her P5.7 million to give back to Sen. Jinggoy.
However, Sen. Jinggoy returned the cash worth P37.5 million.
[Note 4: It is interesting to note that at that time, Sen. Jinggoy was facing a plunder suit together with his father, ex-President Joseph Estrada. However, the elder Estrada fielded his son Jinggoy in the 2004 elections. Jinggoy won. The date when Jinggoy initially agreed to deal with Napoles through Tuason is two months after he sat as senator for the first time together with his mother Senator Maria Luisa Ejercito.]
Page 8 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason states that Sen. Jinggoy went directly to deal with Napoles, thus eliminating the need for Tuason. Tuason states that Sen. Jinggoy’s transactions for 2007 and 2008 match the records of Napoles’ nephew, Benhur Luy.
Tuason states she knows personally that Sen. Jinggoy transacted those amounts directly with Napoles because it was she who hand-delivered Sen. Jinggoy’s kickbacks to him, either at the Senate or in his house. However, Tuason states Sen Jinggoy never signed any voucher to show he had received the money.
[Note 5: The crime that Sen. Jinggoy is being accused of here is the same crime that he was arraigned for in the plunder lawsuit together with his father. In that lawsuit, close family friend and political ally Luis “Chavit” Singson claimed that he used topersonally deliver cash to father and son.]
Page 9 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason states she gave the cash to Sen. Jinggoy “in a bag.
[Note 6: This is the same modus operandi in the Erap-Jinggoy plunder suit. ]
Tuason states she stopped delivering the kickbacks after she had personally introduced Napoles to Sen. Jinggoy during the wake of actor Rudy Fernandez. However, Tuason added that based on Benhur Luy’s accounting, Sen. Jinggoy “apeared to have directly dealt with Janet Napoles because money intended for delivery to him were since then reieved by his secretary and no longer me.”
As for dealing with Enrile, Tuason states she had relayed the “offer” to Enrile’s chief-of-Staff, Atty Gigi Reyes around 2004.
[Note 7: In 2001, following the ouster of Estrada, Sen. Enrile who staunchly supported Estrada lost his re-election bid. It was only in 2004 when Enrile switched his support to then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that he was re-elected. If what Tuason says is true, it is interesting to note that Enrile started getting kickbacks so soon after his re-election.]
Page 10 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Ruby Tuason states she delivered more than what Benhur Luy was able to record as Enrile’s alleged kickbacks.
Page 11 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Ruby Tuason details how she gave Enrile’s commission to Gigi Reyes.
She also details how she personally introduced Napoles to Atty Gigi Reyes in 2007 and 2008 because Napoles wanted to give her side on the fertilizer scam.
[Note 8: From November 17, 2008 up to June 30, 2013, Enrile was the Senate President and could therefore sway any investigations. On December 22, 2008, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair Richard Gordon issued a subpoena for Napoles to testify on the fertilizer scam since – Gordon said – she was “the second biggest supplier of fertilizer in the Department of Agriculture’s P728-million fertilizer project.”
Nearly two months later on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2009 – which happens to be Senate President Enrile’s birthday – Gordon issued a press statement that it was no longer necessary for Napoles to appear. To read up on this more, pls click on this link to my story, Janet Lim Napoles stopped the Senate twice from investigating her. ]
Page 12 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Ruby Tuason explains her involvement in the alleged Malampaya fund scam. She states that her only involvement was to find a Malacañang Palace connection for her brother Remy and to allow Remy to use her house as a drop-off for the cash to be given to the alleged Malacañang connection.
Page 13 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Ruby Tuason explains why she did not tell Napoles about her brother’s Palace connection.
Tuason also claims why she decided to turn whistleblower.
Page 14 of 15 – Ruby Tuason affidavit
Tuason claims a stranger has warned her on the phone not to squeal.