MANILA - Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday criticized Vice-President Jejomar Binay's statements against socialite Ruby Tuason, saying that his comments could discourage other whistle-blowers from coming forward.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Cayetano questioned Binay's statements that Tuason's testimony in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing was a dud and that there should be presumption of innocence and no trial by publicity in the pork scam case.
"Suddenly, meron kang parang iniisip na ma-a-undermine yung kaso na ito after 2016. Remember, until Ruby Tuason, yung incentive ng lahat ng whistle-blowers at state witness ay lumabas at parang lumalabas wala nang pipigil sa tuwid na daan," he said.
"But suddenly with statements like this, nag-iisip na ngayon yung iba kung lalabas o hindi because what will happen after 2016? Now the pressure is on the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice not only to come up with more witnesses to file the case but make the case solid so that kahit sino ang presidente by 2016 ay hindi ito ma dismiss," he added.
He said Binay was very aggressive in pushing then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to answer corruption allegations against her while keeping quiet about the allegations against his own allies.
"If you have a president or a leading presidentiable saying: 'Sandali - yung testimony niya dud. Hindi naman slam dunk yan. Sandali lang. Bakit may trial by publicity?' He did not say that with GMA. Parati niyang sinasabi: 'Sumagot ka. Bakit di ka sumasagot?' The Vice-President never bugged Senator [Juan Ponce] Enrile or Senator Jinggoy [Estrada] to answer but he is bugging the DOJ kung bakit ganyan ang handling," he said.
Binay is an ally of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, both of whom are accused of benefiting from the pork barrel scam. Tuason earlier told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that she personally delivered millions of pesos in pork barrel kickbacks to the two senators.
The Vice-President has contradicted the statement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that Tuason's testimony was "slam dunk evidence."
He later told reporters that he did not describe Tuason's testimony a dud. He said he doubts that the socialite will qualify as a state witness.
"Unang una, di ko naman sinabing dud. Ang sinabi ko, nagdududa akong magqualify si Ruby bilang state witness kasi kapag tinignan mo yung qualifications, mahirap siya magqualify. In each case, kung hindi siya magqualify, hindi siya puwede tumestigo. Bagama't maraming nagsasabi na yung pagkakatestigo niya ay hindi naman kagalingan at walang nilalaman," he said.
Cayetano noted that as a Cabinet member, the Vice-President is supposed to be supportive of the President. "Yet he's criticizing the DOJ publicly," he said.
He also slammed the statement of Senator Enrile that he would rather answer charges against him in court. He chided the veteran lawmaker for letting his chief of staff, Atty. Gigi Reyes, get away scot-free.
"Pwede bang staff mo lang gumawa? Pwede....pero dapat nung nalaman mo kinasuhan mo. Pero lumalabas sa dokumento he gave them a free hand and afterwards he confirmed it pa," he said.