Saturday, May 3, 2014
JINGGOY URGES BLUE RIBBON TO OPEN PROBE ON MALAMPAYA SCAM
MANILA-Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada urged the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (Blue Ribbon) to begin the inquiry on the alleged misuse of the Malampaya Fund.
Jinggoy, a member of the committee, said that the body might also be interested in uncovering the truth behind what is described as “worse than the fertilizer scam” which involves “amounts bigger than the pork barrel.”
Sen. Estrada cited that the committee already released last April 1 its report following the nine hearings on the so-called Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. Committee Chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III also earlier pronounced that it is ready to shift focus to the investigation of the Malampaya Fund scam as “all of its goals were already achieved.”
The lawmaker further noted the problematic state of our energy sector from persistent power supply deficit and rotating brownouts to high costs of electricity as possibly the strongest evidence in the misuse of Malampaya funds which is used for the financing of energy-related programs.
Sen. Estrada questioned why up to now the Blue Ribbon has not started its investigation on the so-called Malampaya scam. "Sen. Guingona has repeatedly said that he was about to start investigating the Malampaya scam but has not done so yet,” Jinggoy said.
In a television interview yesterday after the press conference of the Office of the Ombudsman announcing the grant of immunity to Mrs. Ruby Tuason, Sen. Estrada questioned how the authorities computed the amount of 40 million pesos which was turned over by Tuason in favor of the government.
Tuason is believed to have played a major role in the Malampaya scam. In his privilege speech last March, Sen. Estrada disclosed that Tuason owns a property called “Malampaya Mansion,” referring to a posh house and lot located in Dasmariñas Village, Makati City.
“Tinawag po itong ‘Malampaya mansion’ ng mga malalapit kay Mrs. Tuason sapagkat ito ay isa sa mga katas diumano ng kanyang Malampaya kickbacks na sinasabing umabot sa halagang 242 million pesos,” Jinggoy said then in his speech.
Apart from this, Jinggoy revealed that Mrs. Tuason also set up Rubysons Corp., an eighty-million peso capitalized corporation which is supposed to be engaged in micro-business activities, and put up a high-end jewelry store in a plush hotel. In the same speech, Estrada also exposed Tuason’s other real estate properties – one at Las Vegas Country Club (worth 6.3 million pesos), one in Oakland, California (worth 150,000 dollars), one in Henderson, Nevada, another in Kawayan Cove in Cavite, townhouses in Alabang and Valle Verde.
Tuason was charged along with 21 others with plunder by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the Malampaya fund scam.
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