MANILA - Senator Cynthia Villar she was not aware of socialite Ruby Tuason’s connections to Janet Napoles when she dined at her house together with Senator Jinggoy Estrada last year.
Villar earlier clarified that the dinner was “purely social” and that she has known Tuason since Tuason served as social secretary of then President Joseph Estrada while Villar’s husband, Manny, was House Speaker.
"Yung mga Napoles-connection niya, I was surprised. Hindi ko alam ‘yun. Kilala ko siya as a friend. Alam mo si Ruby is well-known sa mga circle sa Manila e. Marami kaming magkakaibigan, marami naman akong kaibigan. One of them, siya. Hindi ko alam ‘yung kanyang Napoles-connection," Villar told reporters.
Villar said she is not bothered by Estrada floating clues about a majority senator accompanying him to a dinner with Tuason, saying there was nothing wrong about the dinner.
"I am not concerned. It’s just a dinner, a social dinner. I don’t find anything wrong with that so. May malice or not, I don’t care. I have nothing to hide,” Villar said.
Estrada earlier disclosed that he visited and dined at the house of Ruby Tuason in Dasmariñas Village during the campaign season last year and that he was accompanied by a fellow senator who was running at that time.
Estrada declined to name the senator, saying there was nothing wrong with the dinner.
"Let’s not drag her or him to issue… We were invited to a dinner, tatatlo lang kami," Estrada said.
"There is nothing wrong if we had dinner. Wala namang masama roon. Hindi naman porke nakipag-dinner e may dealings na. Hindi naman ganoon."
He only gave clues: the senator is a neophyte and a member of the majority bloc.
"Hindi siya senator dati, ngayon senator na," Estrada said.
Villar later confirmed having dinner with Estrada and Tuason, saying the latter was trying to bring her closer to Estrada "since he is planning to run for a higher position."
The Dasmarinas Village house is the so-called "Malampaya mansion" that Estrada had alleged in a previous privilege speech.
Tuason alleged she had delivered the pork barrel kickbacks to Estrada’s office. To discredit his father’s former social secretary, Estrada claimed Tuason received the biggest kickbacks from the Malampaya fund scam.