Jinggoy Estrada behaved like a headless chicken running crazy after Ruby Tuazon, a provisional state witness for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy gave an eyewitness account of how she personally delivered Sen. Estrada’s kickbacks in his Senate office.
Obviously distraught, at a rush press conference held at his cramped Senate office, Jinggoy cackled litany of his repeated denials of getting hefty kickbacks from his PDAF. He had been in the defensive panic mode ever since Ruby Tuazon surfaces, and his denials intensified when Ruby Tuazon attended the Senate hearing on PDAF. Reports had it that before Jinggoy faced the media he had a few smokes, lay back in his chair while monitoring the news on his TV. In an interview with the Rappler reporter, Jinggoy made a slip of the tongue calling Janet Lim Napoles as “Jenny” then corrected himself. Jinggoy said, “I never asked ‘Jenny… Janet’s phone number from Tuazon. This was when Jinggoy denied his close ties with Napoles. Ruby Tuazon called Janet Napoles also as “Jenny.” For her close friends, Janet known to be “Jenny.”
Jinggoy Estrada had never been as disturbed as when Ruby Tuazon was not on the scene yet. He dismissed the testimonies of Benhur Luy and the other whistle blowers which implicated and charged him of plunder as a nuisance. Jinggoy even acted as if he is on the offensive. In a fighting stance, he spouted off “selective justice” why he and two other of his colleague were singled out, when all lawmakers could have been guilty as well. This was the gist of his privilege speech exposing the Development Acceleration Project (DAP).
Ruby Tuazon’s surfacing was a game changer, however. When Justice Secretary Leila de Lima characterized Ruby Tuazon’s affidavit as a “slam dunk” evidence, panic set in for Jinggoy. His political allies, in a concerted effort, downplayed the “slam dunk” characterization. Jejomar Binay, the Vice President said, could be a “dud”. Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy’s father, said, Ruby Tuazon is a pork barrel paid witness intending to do a Clarissa Ocampo stunt. Ocampo was the bank employee who testified against him in 2001 that caused the elder Estrada’s downfall. Jinggoy said in the media, that the “slam dunk” was just a “laid up,” meaning, as in basketball, it is a weak shot that can miss.
Based on small releases of bit and pieces of information coming from Ruby Tuazon’s affidavit, Jinggoy discredited Tuazon’s claims with replete of denials. He said, it is a fabrication to pin him down of the plunder charges. Ruby Tuazon’s surfacing could have been attributed to him not granting her request of financial assistance while she was hiding in the U.S. as she could not probably sustain her stay there. Jinggoy admitted that Ruby was her friend, but he neither gave her permission to transact nor had any role in his PDAF’s allocation. Jinggoy emphasized further, he had never received money from Tuazon or Napoles and whatever Tuazon’s say to the contrary is false. Moreover, Jinggoy said, he believed that Benhur Luy and other whistle-blower testimonies were weak, therefore the government needed to tap Tuazon’s to gather more pieces of evidence. Tuazon’s testimony would crumble in the Senate, Jinggoy predicted.
Jinggoy prediction turned out to be a dud. Ruby Tuazon’s testimony didn’t crumble, it got fortified. On Sen. Miriam’ Santiago’s interpellation, the former Trial Judge raised the importance of an eyewitness account to a court trial. Ruby Tuazon delivered personally bags of kickback money from the PDAF’s transactions, and described exactly the methods of its delivery to Jinggoy’s senate’s office. Sen Santiago said, Ruby Tuazon’s eyewitness account alone doesn’t need corroboration. It is already a strong evidence. Then Sen. Santiago asked if Ruby Tuazon’s five senses had been active at the time of delivery of kickbacks – whether she know the difference between money and sandwich – because Jinggoy had been saying to the press that Tuazon’s brought “merienda” to the Senate office, not cash. Ms. Tuazon offered a smile and answered, yes.
Then Sen. Santiago cited references of the latest Supreme Court’s ruling about “denial” as she had been fed up with the barrage of denials issued by the principal lawmakers involved in the PDAF’s controversy. Sen. Santiago said, to this effect, “Under the evidentiary rule, positive assertion, (stating concrete details) gives more weight on the court hearing rather than the denial, because denials or alibis glued to its favor due to the ease of making a concoction. Negative assertion or denial is an inherently weak defense. Unsubstantiated with corroborated evidence, denials or alibis regress to blatant impotence.” Then Sen. Santiago emphasized the words – “blatant na impotent pa, lalo na kung matanda na” which elicited restrained laughter from the audience.
The “slam dunk” characterization of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the testimony of Ruby Tuazon produced an offspring. Sen. Teofisto Guingona, said, Ruby Tuazon’s testimony is a “Three-point shot, buzzer beater, winning point pa.” And Sen. Santiago said, a “It’s a bull’s eye testimony”
One wonders. Would the mug shots of these three leading actors of the PDAF’s scams worthy as target of the dart of anger coming from approximately 90 million Filipinos? It is a positive assertion to ponder!