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Dennis Cunanan, the director general (on leave) of the Technology Resource Center, was the first government official allegedly involved in the so-called pork barrel scam to testify before the Senate blue ribbon committee; that fact gave his appearance at Thursday’s hearing additional import. His position at an agency which channeled Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to suspect beneficiary organizations specifically identified by the offices of at least three senators could illuminate how the scam operated. At the same time, it raised the standards by which he and his testimony, and his application to turn state’s witness, must be judged.
But why is the proposal to form a special court to try cases arising from the pork barrel scam being dismissed so peremptorily? Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposition deserves at least some serious thought, but two of his colleagues—Senators Francis Escudero and Teofisto Guingona III—have immediately thumbed down the idea.
Secretary Joel Villanueva, currently the director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, has been linked to the pork barrel scam.
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
Following Ruby Tuason’s appearance at the Senate to speak on the Napoles pork barrel scam, Vice President Jejomar Binay questioned her enlistment in the government’s Witness Protection Program, dismissing as a “dud,” not a “slam-dunk,” the testimony she could provide.
New witness, new hype. Certainly not on the same level as “slam-dunk,” which was how Justice Secretary Leila de Lima characterized the testimony of confessed bagwoman Ruby Tuason. But De Lima’s appraisal of the merit of Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Dennis Cunanan’s turnaround from one of the pork-barrel accused to the latest state witness is as solid and categorical. Cunanan qualifies as a state witness, she said, because his account is “plausible and credible.”
By Artemio V. Panganiban
The televised testimony of Ruby Tuason before the Senate blue ribbon committee has been hailed as a grand “slam dunk,” only a “lay-up,” and a winning “three-point buzzer-beater.” These street-smart assessments of how the former Malacañang social queen pinned down her longtime family friend-senator are, of course, familiar to basketball diehards.
By Amando Doronila
The Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into the P10-billion pork barrel scam has developed into the most gripping political circus in the chamber since the impeachment trial of Renato Corona, the former chief justice.
By Randy David
As guilty as they may be in the public eye, legislators who are accused of receiving kickbacks from their pork barrel allocations have every right to defend themselves against attempts to prejudge their guilt.
By Conrado de Quiros
Was Ruby Tuason credible? But of course she was. We all knew pretty much what she would say at the Senate last Thursday, we had advance notices of it, not least from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The only question was how.
By Artemio V. Panganiban
Ruby Tuason, who has been charged with plunder in the Office of the Ombudsman (OOO) by the Department of Justice (DOJ), executed an affidavit detailing her participation in the crime, implicating some of her alleged coconspirators and offering to return her share of the loot, which she admitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee as about P40 million. Is she now free of criminal liability?
The appearance of potential state’s witness Ruby Tuason at the hearing yesterday (Thursday) of the Senate blue ribbon committee can be described in one word: underwhelming. She began the hearing, the eighth that the committee has conducted to investigate the so-called pork barrel scam, surrounded by a waiting public’s highest expectations. She left it, some five hours later, attended by more questions than answers.
This refers to your editorial, “Rice and circuses,” which appeared in your Feb. 6 issue.