MANILA (1st UPDATE) - Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Thursday alleged that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and his legal wife, Cristina, are trying to shift all the blame on his pork barrel transactions with Napoles NGOs to his former chief of staff, Gigi Reyes.
She urged Reyes to come home and turn state witness against her former boss.
In her grilling of Dennis Cunanan, director general on-leave of the Technology Resource Center (TRC), during the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing, Santiago tried to press Cunanan into saying that Enrile is part of the pork barrel scam conspiracy.
Santiago took note of Mrs. Enrile's television interview last Monday, where she admitted she tried to divorce the senator because of his alleged long-term relationship with Reyes.
Mrs. Enrile also claimed her husband has had affairs with 38 women, but that he was not corrupt.
“This Enrile couple is trying to make Gigi Reyes a stand-alone culprit for all the kickbacks he has received under the pork barrel schedule. The effect of this news on me, as a bystander, is that apparently, the Enrile camp is engaged in a lurid scheme that was masterminded – let me change the tense – that is masterminded by a person I can only call a sexually dysfunctional old man, a pedophile – because Gigi Reyes is only half his age – [for Reyes] to take the criminal blame not only for his plunder but also for his moral turpitude,” Santiago said.
She appealed to Reyes, her neighbor in the upscale La Vista subdivision in Quezon City, to come home and turn the tables against him.
“I grieve as a neighbor and friend that she’s now being – as we call it in Filipino – hinuhulog [being dropped],” Santiago said.
She encouraged Reyes to take revenge.
“And the best revenge for Gigi, because I know she will watch this: Atty. Gigi, return the money that Enrile stole because I’m sure that [you are] in charge of the safekeeping of these illegitimate funds that need to be laundered abroad. Turn the tables against Enrile by coming home and turning state witness.”
‘DISCRIPTION, NOT DESCRIPTION'
In his testimony, Cunanan said he talked to senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada on the phone to verify the documents received by his office for the release of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
He said he was sure he was talking to both since he was familiar with their voices because Revilla and Estrada are both movie stars. With Enrile’s office, he said it was his impression that Reyes had the authority to transact with them.
Cunanan noted, however, that Enrile’s documents had an erroneously spelled word, similar to the documents submitted by Revilla and Estrada. “Lahat ng project proposal nila, the word 'description' was spelled as ‘discription.’”
Santiago retorted, “Ha! So part din sya [Enrile] ng conspiracy. Sya ang pinakamatanda sa kanila. 90 [years old] na sya e. Naging Senate President pa. Sino sa tingin mo ang [head] ng conspiracy?”
Cunanan answered: “Mahirap po magsalita.”
Apparently sensing that Cunanan was holding back, Santiago urged Cunanan to “let it go, let it go,” which is also the title of the hit song in the popular Disney movie, "Frozen."
Santiago then took note of the earlier testimony of former Estrada social secretary Ruby Tuason, who testified she delivered the personal kickbacks of Estrada. Tuason said she did not turn over kickbacks to Enrile directly, but admitted “personally [giving] it to Gigi, who picked it up personally in my house or in a place where we could have coffee.”
Santiago said Enrile was meticulous in ensuring that he would not be directly linked to the scam. However, she cited a Supreme Court ruling that if a person who is part of a conspiracy claims he is not a conspirator, he should at least prove that he tried to prevent the crime.
She asked Cunanan: “So, how can you say he’s still part of the conspiracy?”
Cunanan said: “First, mahirap paniwalaan na wala sya alam.” Santiago replied: “That’s right. It goes against the grain of common sense.”
Cunanan added: “The Commission on Audit requested Enrile to verify his signatures on all the documents in behalf of his office. In-accept yun ni senator as valid.”
Santiago then said: “Enrile, Enrile, Enrile! Para marinig ng botante!”