Cunanan breaks down as he denies getting 'pork' kickbacks

Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2014 - 10:07am

MANILA, Philippines — Pork barrel scam witness Dennis Cunanan broke down in tears as he denied during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Thursday that he received kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero asked Cunanan during the resumption of the pork barrel scam hearing if he really did not receive kickbacks from Napoles.

"Ako ho, with the blessings of God and my family in my honor, in my name, ito lang ho yung pwede kong maisulong. Kung meron man ho ako, bakit hindi ko aaminin ngayon?" Cunanan answered.

"Ito na po ang sitwasyon para maabswelto't lahat pero sa konsensya ko po, sa konsensya ng pamilya ko, mahirap pong umamin nang hindi totoo," he said.

LIVE: Dennis Cunanan at Senate 'pork' hearing

Escudero said that Cunanan's claim to innocence is not consistent with principal whistleblower Benhur Luy's records that he received P960,000 in "commissions" from Napoles between 2007 and 2009 while he was the deputy director general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC).

Luy, who worked under Napoles' JLN Corporation, recounted that he had not met Cunanan personally but confirmed that he hand-carried P960,000 to a conference room where Cunanan, Napoles and her former employee Evelyn de Leon were.

Cunanan acknowledged the accuracy of Luy's records but said that only the heads of agencies would receive commissions from Napoles.

He said that if he did receive money, it would not be as huge as the amounts Napoles gave to former TRC director general Antonio Ortiz.

"Kung may natanggap po ako, hindi siguro ako magve-verify ng mga dokumento. Kung may natanggap po ako, siguro ako pa mismo ang magmamadali para ma-proseso ang mga dokumento," Cunanan added.

"Kung naging accomplice ako, bakit noong ako na ang naging head of agency, pina-verify ko ulit itong mga (Napoles-led) NGOs na ito to the extent na inabutan ko na na-blacklist ko ang mga 'yan?" he explained.

Cunanan was appointed chief of TRC by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after Ortiz's term.

He recounted that he ordered the dubious NGOs supposedly led by Napoles be examined by the Commission on Audit in the process of preventing them from transacting with the agency.

"Ito ang isa sa mga naging lead sa [COA Special Audit]," Cunanan said.

TRC is among the implementing agencies tagged to be transacting with Napoles' fraudulent non-government organizations between 2007 and 2009.

Cunanan had been included among the list of respondents in the plunder and malversation charges filed by the Department of Justice before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The former TRC chief was admitted as provisional state witness and placed under the Witness Protection Program of the justice department after executing a sworn statement on his knowledge on the scam.

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