MANILA (Mabuhay) — Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada asked the Senate’s Blue Ribbon committee on Saturday to open an inquiry into the alleged misuse of the royalties from the Malampaya natural gas project.
Estrada, who is also a member of the committee, said the panel should look into the supposed Malampaya Fund scam, especially since a report on its hearings on the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam has already been released.
“Senator (Teofisto III) Guingona has repeatedly said that he was about to start investigating the Malampaya scam but has not done so yet,” Estrada said.
Estrada added the power shortage in Mindanao and the high cost of electricity could be proof that the Malampaya fund, which was supposed to pay for renewable energy projects, was misused.
The senator’s statement comes after whistleblower Ruby Tuason, who says she delivered kickbacks from pork barrel projects to Estrada, was given immunity from suit by the Ombudsman last Friday in exchange for her testimony on the scam.
Tuason also turned over P40 million that she supposedly received from her involvement in the scam, where money from the Priority Development Fund was allegedly put into projects that were either non-existent or anomalous.
But Estrada questioned how authorities were able to determine that the money Tuason turned over was all she got in alleged kickbacks from the projects.
Last March, Estrada claimed in a privilege speech that Tuason earned up to P242 million from the Malampaya scam. He said the money helped buy a P45-million house in Dasmariñas Village in Makati that he dubbed the “Malampaya Mansion”.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said Friday that the immunity granted to Tuason by the Office of the Ombudsman does not cover the Malampaya case.
Senators Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and others are facing plunder complaints before the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing millions in commissions from the pork barrel scam. (MNS)