MANILA - Ruby Tuason's lawyer, Dennis Manalo, said his client left the country last March 2 to attend to personal matters, including making financing arrangements for the return of the P40 million she promised government, as part of her commitment as a state witness applicant in the pork barrel case.
Tuason left for Hong Kong on Sunday night on board Cathay Pacific flight CX 902, as confirmed by immigration spokesperson Maan Pedro.
"She has personal matters to attend to, foremost of which is yung commitment niya to return P 40 million pesos, so she is talking to people on how to come up with a financing for this," Manalo said.
Tuason is set to return to the country on April 5, and has no intention of reneging on her commitment to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), he added.
The former Malacanang social secretary during the term of Pres. Joseph Estrada, father of Sen Jinggoy Estrada whom Tuason has linked, along with Senators Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile, to the anomaly, is under provisional coverage of the DOJ Witness Protection Program (WPP) as the Office of the Ombudsman weighs in on her testimony.
"She has a return ticket since natapos naman niya lahat nung requirements for her testimony in the NBI, DOJ, Ombudsman and [Senate] Blue Ribbon Committee. There's nothing else that she should be doing here in the Philippines and she started talking to people on how she will be able to finance her commitment,” Manalo said.
"Ang undertaking naman niya sa DOJ is that at anytime that she is called, she is willing to return to the country immediately.... If she will be needed, she is willing to return anytime, kahit di pa yung April 5, basta bigyan din siya ng advanced notice," he said.