Janet: From showbiz to politics
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Suspected pork barrel scam operator Janet Lim-Napoles rubbed elbows with showbiz personalities, who eventually became her contacts to politicians, according to potential state witness Ruby Tuason.

In her appearance before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing yesterday, Tuason said Napoles even bought a lot at the Heritage Memorial Park near the burial site of actor Rudy Fernandez so that she would be close to showbiz personalities and mingle with them during All Soul’s Day.

She said Napoles arranged parties and hired catering services at the memorial park.

Tuason said she introduced Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to Napoles during Fernandez’s wake in 2008. Estrada belied this, saying it was Fernandez’s wife, actress Lorna Tolentino, who introduced Napoles to him.

During the hearing, it was learned that Napoles and Tuason were close friends. Tuason was married to Carlos “Butch” Tuason, a first cousin of former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Napoles and Tuason were neighbors at the upscale Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.

Tuason said Napoles had the “bad habit” of putting her cellular phone on speaker mode so that people around her would know that she was talking to her influential contacts in government.

But she said she did not hear Napoles talking with any senator or congressman.

Actor Mat Ranillo III, who was mentioned in Tuason’s affidavit, first acted as go-between for Napoles and some congressmen, whistle-blower Benhur Luy also told the Senate panel.

Tuason corroborated Luy’s claim that Ranillo facilitated the payoffs of around P9 million in kickbacks to Estrada at the house of Justa Tantoco, a member of the MARE Foundation of former senator Loi Ejercito, Jinggoy’s mother.

Luy said the relationship between Ranillo and Napoles soured after the latter dropped him as conduit for the PDAF-funded projects of lawmakers.

Tuason also bared her falling out with the Arroyos after she caught her husband philandering. She said she burned all the belongings of her late husband and even noted in jest that she almost gave him an early “cremation.”

Tuason is credible – Miriam

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said there is no need for state prosecutors to consider Napoles as state witness with Tuason’s decision to come out.

She said Tuason is enough to pin down Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Estrada in the pork barrel scam.

“The testimony of Tuason is enough to convict (without) reasonable doubt because reasonable does not mean the doubt of a lawman. It means moral certainty,” Santiago said after the hearing.

“I genuinely believe that her conscience is bothering her… She goes to mass everyday apparently. You cannot reconcile going to mass and telling a lie all your life. She will have a conflicted personality until the end of her days,” she added.

Santiago said the Rules of Court weigh eyewitness accounts as credible.

“There is absolute necessity for the testimony because all the whistle-blowers would not give eyewitness testimony, they are just record keepers. Now here we have a person who personally tells, with some accused here, particularly the senators involved,” she said.

“I think what this story today teaches us is that there are a number of high society matrons… whom we have always wondered what they do when they are not lunching each other. Here is the answer: they fall into the craps of the political-financial bureaucracy,” she said.

 

ACTOR MAT RANILLO ALL SOUL BENHUR LUY FERNANDEZ HERITAGE MEMORIAL PARK JANET LIM-NAPOLES JINGGOY ESTRADA NAPOLES NAPOLES AND TUASON TUASON
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