MANILA - Ruby Tuason's failure to "recall" details about her alleged Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) transactions with Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and the camp of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile should all the more convince the public that that she is a credible witness, according to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.
De Lima issued the statement amid Sen. Antonio Trillanes' dismay at Tuason's testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday.
The justice chief said Tuason's answers to the queries of senators clearly showed she was not forcing herself to come up with a story after having forgotten the details of her encounters with the camp of the two lawmakers charged for siphoning portions of their "pork barrel" to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) put up by alleged "pork barrel" scam architect Janet Lim Napoles.
"I don't blame Senator Trillanes and I respect his reservations about the testimony of Mrs. Tuason. May mga punto naman talaga si Sen. Trillanes. Ang take ko dyan, you must understand, si Mrs. Tuason she admits na sya ang go-between, the agent, yung middle man, sya yung taga abot.
"Yun lang role niya eh, tagahatid ng kickback, nung share ng lawmakers involved so siyempre, ang interst lang niya siguro is just her share, yung referral fee so she didn't deem it proper or desirable na she would keep track or she would also record yung mga hinahatid nyang kickback. Yun kasi, para sa kanya nga, trabaho yun nina Janet Lim Napoles, yung mga staff nya, especially Benhur Luy kaya ganun hindi nya masabi yung detalye o hindi nya maalala yung exact amounts, yung exact dates. Yung year lang naaalala nya, 2008."
De Lima said Tuason's testimony is important in the plunder case against Estrada and Enrile because she has "direct knowledge" of the giving of kickbacks to the two senators because she "personally delivered" the kickbacks.
"So what I'm trying to say is that it's actually plausible na it's what makes her more credible, na hindi nya pinipilit mag-provide ng detalye na hindi naman nya kayang iprovide, di ba? Kasi nga hindi nya trabaho ung magbilang nung mga kickbacks na yan, hindi nya trabaho ung magrecord ng mga yan.
"Para sa kanya, tagahatid lang siya....at every time na naghahatid sya, meron din dyang komisyon so siguro yung binibilang niya yung sarili lang niyang komisyon."
De Lima said Tuason's testimony corroborated the testimony of Benhur Luy and the other whistleblowers regarding the scam.
The justice chief also pointed out that Tuason's answers before the Senate hearing only showed she is not being coached by the Department of Justice (DOJ) nor the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on what she has to say.