Sports metaphors: Is Tuason's testimony really the 'winning shot'?

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 13 2014 09:40 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2014 05:40 AM

MANILA - No testimony has perhaps elicited as many metaphors as that of former social secretary Ruby Tuason's.

Tuason has corroborated the statements made by pork barrel scam whistleblowers led by Benhur Luy by testifying that she personally delivered kickbacks to Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's former chief of staff Jessica 'Gigi' Reyes.

First, it was Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who said Tuason's affidavit was a “slam dunk."

Estrada later disagreed with De Lima and belittled what she said, describing it as more like a "lay-up."

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, a former Regional Trial Court judge, called Tuason's testimony a “bull’s eye."

Then, no less than the chairman of the powerful committee, Senator Teofisto 'TG' Guingona, said the Tuason's testimony carried much weight, and used 3 metaphors for it: three-point shot, buzzer-beater, winning shot.

In response, Estrada said Guingona's conclusion was an "offensive foul."

For political analyst Edmund Tayao, who teaches at the University of Sto. Tomas, it's still too early in the game to say who's winning.

In politics, he said the pork barrel scam scandal isn't a 48-minute basketball game.

“For me, it depends if it’s the best of three or best of seven [game]. We’ve only seen a quarter…Mahaba pa ito. It’s difficult to say if one side is gaining traction,” he said.

Tayao noted that not one criminal case on the pork barrel scam has reached the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan.

He also wonders why some senators are not helping the case by asking the wrong questions.

“What makes it interesting is why other senators would push Mrs. Tuason to say more. Mrs. Tuason was not saying categorically that a senator knows what his chief of staff is doing…precisely because she doesn’t have direct knowledge,” Tayao said.

During the hearing, Tuason said she personally delivered the money to Estrada. In Enrile’s case, she handed the money to his chief-of-staff Gigi Reyes.

Even if Reyes appears and reveals what she knows, her story would only probably involve Enrile, Tayao said.

He said Enrile’s and Estrada’s roles are just “a drop in the bucket” in the whole scandal. “How about the other chiefs of staff of the other senators?”

He said the senators, in Thursday's hearing, did not even try to establish the credibility of Tuason.

“Tuason brought the snacks [to Estrada]. Why the need? Was it her birthday? How frequent? I was expecting for them to establish the credibility.”

Asked if there was a script behind Tuason's decision to turn state witness, Tayao said, “It’s hard to say if a play is being followed."

However, he said, the question that is probably foremost in the minds of ordinary citizens is: "Will someone go to jail?”


A political analyst said it is still too early in the game to determine who is winning.

In the field of politics, the game may not even be a two-hour long basketball game. University of the Philippines political science professor Edmund Tayao said the end goal is only when the guilty is already in prison.

First, it was Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who said the affidavit of Ruby Tuason, the former aide of ex-President Joseph Estrada, was a “slam dunk.”

Upon hearing of her testimony during a Senate hearing on Thursday, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago described it a “bull’s eye”.

It was also no less than Senator TG Guingona – the head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that is hearing the pork scam issue – who said that Tuason’s statements can already be considered a “three-point shot, buzzer beater, winning shot.”

Amid the people’s reaction to the pork scam issue, Tayao can’t help agree with Senator Jinggoy Estrada – one of those linked to the scam – that the senators’ statements are considered “offensive foul.”

“For me, it depends if it’s the best of three or best of seven [game]. We’ve only seen a quarter…Mahaba pa ito. It’s difficult to say if one side is gaining traction,” he said.

He said senators should have kept their “emotional remarks” to themselves since the hearings are still ongoing. Not even one case has been filed before a court of law, he said.

He noted even the parties involved in the issue know better than the senators that there is an absolute necessity to just answer the questions in court.

“What makes it interesting is why other senators would push Mrs. Tuason to say more. Mrs. Tuason was not saying categorically that a senator knows what his chief of staff is doing…precisely because she doesn’t have direct knowledge,” Tayao said.

During the hearing, Tuason said she personally delivered the money to Estrada. In Enrile’s case, she handed the money to his chief-of-staff Gigi Reyes.

"Silence means consent. Kung ikaw ang boyfriend, ano ang gagawin mo dun? You will ask [your girlfriend what she’s doing] before you pick her up. The people facing Valentine’s Day know it’s the SOP [Standard Operating Procedure]," Santiago said of Enrile’s alleged involvement.

Even if Reyes would appear and reveal what she supposedly knows, her story would only probably involve Enrile, Tayao said.

He said Enrile’s and Estrada’s involvements are just “a drop in the bucket” in the whole scandal. “How about the other chiefs of staff of the other senators?”

He said the senators this morning did not even try to establish the credibility of Tuason. “Tuason brought the snacks [to Estrada]. Why the need? Was it her birthday? How frequent? I was expecting for them to establish the credibility.”

Was there a script involve in today’s hearing then? Tayao said, “It’s hard to say if a play is being followed. At the end of the day, my question is: Will someone go to jail?”