MANILA (UPDATED) - On-leave Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General and "pork" scam case respondent-turned-state-witness-applicant Dennis Cunanan has challenged Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla, also respondents in the case pending with the Office of the Ombudsman, to subject themselves to a lifestyle check and open their bank accounts to public scrutiny.
Cunanan issued the statement, through his lawyer, Atty Odessa Bernardo, on Monday even as he reiterated his commitment to execute a waiver on the secrecy of his bank accounts, and submit to a lifestyle check by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
He also cried foul over news reports that are allegedly out to demolish and discredit him.
"I am also issuing this public challenge to the principal suspects in the PDAF scam. Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada and Ramon 'Bong' Revilla, if you are innocent as you publicly claim you are and you have nothing to hide, please submit yourselves to the same lifestyle check and execute waivers of the benefits of the bank secrecy law so the public may know once and for all who is telling the truth," Cunanan said.
In a 36-page affidavit submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Cunanan claimed Revilla, Estrada, and Enrile, through his former chief of staff, Atty Gigi Reyes, funneled millions of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus NGOs linked to alleged scam brains Janet Lim Napoles, through the TRC as implementing agency.
Cunanan also claimed several congressmen did the same thing with their pork barrel funds.
Cunanan said malice and a demolition job are behind news reports about the non-inclusion in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of the house in an exclusive Quezon City subdivision where he and his family lives, and a service vehicle registered to the TRC.
He said the reports were aimed at misleading the public, and stressed he need not declare these assets in his SALN because he did not own them.
Cunanan, who claims he did not benefit from the alleged PDAF misuse, said the so-called demolition job is out to discredit him as a witness in the case now pending with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Cunanan is under provisional coverage of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Witness Protection Program (WPP) as the Ombudsman weighs in on the materiality of his testimony.
"[T]he news feed was maliciously crafted by taking unverified claims and intercalating them with true facts to give them the semblance of truth and ending with insinuations of wrong-doing. It is obviously part of a well finance demolition job aimed at destroying my credibility as a possible witness for the state against the powerful masterminds of the PDAF scam."
"I actually expected this already. During the weekend when Sec. Leila De Lima announced my provisional admission into the witness protection program and two (2) days before the story broke out, the guards of the subdivision where we lived noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near on our street, surreptitiously filming the house. When confronted by the guards, the occupants claimed that they were doing a video documentary. They refused to give their identities and hurriedly left the subdivision. I actually reported this to my lawyers, who in turn reported this to the Secretary of Justice," Cunanan said.
He maintained that the house is owned by his brother, Darius, who obtained loans to purchase the property. Cunanan said his brother continues to pay the monthly amortization for the loans.
Cunanan authorized Bernardo to make public copies of the Deed of Sale of said property, loan documents under Darius Cunanan's name, and Darius Cunanan's statement of account for the balance of the loans.
Cunanan said his brother has agreed to lease the property to him at a concessional rate.
"The house was offered to my brother at a very good price. Knowing he was getting a good deal, my brother obtained a loan from a bank and bought the property. He is in fact still paying the monthly amortization on the loan from the bank up to now. In fact, he also used the said property as collateral for another loan he obtained for one of the businesses he is managing."
"Also for the record, the house is not valued at P40 million. At the time my brother acquired the property, the price for the house and the lot where it is built was around P12 million. I am certain that it has appreciated in value but I don’t believe it is worth anywhere near P40 million," Cunanan said.
BRACING FOR MORE ATTACKS
Cunanan believes he has not seen the last of these "malicious stories" and vowed to respond to any and all attacks that may still be lodged against him.
"Apart from the malicious stories being planted with the media, it has also become obvious to me that some reputable public officials are unwittingly being fed with maliciously slanted information in an effort to use them to discredit me in public. I am bracing myself for more attacks against my person and reputation and I will try to respond to them with all due candor and humility."
"I would like to think, however, that this case is not about me. It is about public officials who are supposed to be elected representatives of the people who deliberately conspired with Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles and allocated hundreds of millions if not billions in public funds placed at their discretion for ghost projects in exchange for hefty commissions, which now line their pockets," he said.
Cunanan called on the media to "consider the safety and well-being" of his family and his children, who are all minors, in performing their duties.
He appealed to the media not to publicize his address and refrain from showing footage and photos of his residence.
"On the night after the façade of the house subject of the TV news report was shown and/or the name of the street and subdivision where the house is located were mentioned in the broadcast/reports, my family started noticing numerous suspicious vehicles lurking around the street where we stay. My family and household also started receiving threatening phone calls and text messages saying that 'they knew where we live and what time my children commute to and from their school' and inquiring about my whereabouts."
"While I recognize and respect the right of the media to report on matters like this, I would like to appeal to members of the media to consider the safety and well-being of my family, particularly children who are all still minors when they perform duties. I know I have no right to tell members of the media how to do their work but just the same, I respectfully appeal to you, as a parent with young children, if it at all possible, please do not mention the name of our street and subdivision and please do not show images of the house where we are staying in a manner which will make it readily identifiable," Cunanan said.
While he expressed readiness to face all the challenges that may be thrust his way due to his decision to apply as state witness in the case, Cunanan asked the media and the public to help spare his wife, children, and other members of his family.
Estrada accepted Cunanan's challenge on Monday, but declined to reveal his bank records to the public.
“No problem. Lahat kami. Bakit kami lang? Lahat kami,” Estrada told reporters.
Estrada twitted Cunanan's willingness to open his bank accounts for scrutiny, saying that it is not enough.
“Well, that’s not enough. Opening his bank accounts is not enough. ‘Yong kanyang bahay ipinangalan sa kapatid niya. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang negosyo ng kapatid niya, bakit siya nakapagpatayo ng isang malaking bahay doon sa White Plains. Unang-una, hindi niya inilagay sa kanyang SALN [Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth] iyon,” he said.
Estrada, however, questioned the need to open his bank account, saying that he has been investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Council anyway.
“E niluto na niya ang bank accounts niya (Cunanan). Nasa pangalan ba niya? Siyempre hindi niya ilalagay sa pangalan niya. Bakit ako pipirma ng bank waiver eh inimbestigahan na kami ng AMLC. Eh di ilabas na nila ang records ng AMLC,” he said. - with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News