MANILA - Socialite and former Palace aide Ruby Tuason on Thursday said she agreed to participate in the government investigation on the pork barrel scam to seek absolution for her wrongs.
In her opening statement before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Tuason confirmed that she received commissions from alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
"It would be hypocritical of me to say that I was not motivated by commissions from Mrs. Napoles. I was. The mistake was grave and selfish. The decision haunts me with regret. My conscience can no longer take it," she said.
She also confirmed that she asked for help from Sen. Jinggoy Estrada but only as a "litmus test" of his loyalties after they were both implicated in the scam.
She said Estrada's rejection of her plea for financial aid only confirmed that the senator was not willing to risk his own neck to help a friend.
"A senator said my return is done in spite. A reaction for an alleged plea for cold cash. If I am the extortionist he claims me to be, why did I offer to return the assets I required from arrangements with Mrs. Napoles?
"While it is true that I returned the missed calls of the senator, the conversation I constructed was my personal litmus test on his loyalties. Yes, I asked him kung ano ang maitutulong niya sa akin - an inquiry faced with rejection and proof of a spoiled friendship. After all, I was once willing to stand death row because of my trust in his family. Now I risk my life only for the Philippines," she added.
Tuason is a former social secretary of ex-President Joseph Estrada and is the alleged conduit of pork scam kickbacks from Napoles to Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.
She left the country last year after being implicated in the scam but returned last Friday, February 7, to turn state witness.
She earlier told the National Bureau of Investigation that she personally delivered the kickbacks to the two senators.
The former Palace aide said that while there is truth to the claim that she does not want to go to jail, she could have easily stayed in the United States to escape arrest.
Tuason said her decision to apply for the witness protection program opens up her life to the scrutiny of the public. She added that she is risking her personal safety without any promise of immunity since her inclusion in the WPP is provisional.