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Cong. Biazon's name comes up in bail hearing.

MANILA -- Who is the real Cong. Biazon?

Whistle-blower Merlina Sunas on Monday told the Sandiganbayan former Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon had dealings with Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Continuing her testimony in the bail hearing of detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sunas said Biazon recommended projects to be funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, to Napoles' bogus foundations from 2007 to 2009.

Her latest testimony in the antigraft court's Fifth Division contradicted the claim of primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy who earlier told court that Cong. Biazon was a code name Napoles had given to Estrada.

Sunas, who had helped Napoles in her transactions with the government since 1994, admitted she had never met Estrada and that she never handed money to the senator as his alleged kickbacks in the multibillion-peso scam.

During her cross-examination by defense counsel Dennis Buenaventura, one of Napoles' lawyer, Sunas said there were several legislators who funneled their PDAF allotments to Napoles-owned nongovernment organizations.

Is Cong. Ruffy Biazon one of them? Yes? Buenaventura asked the witness.

Sunas, who had previously looked calm and confident on the witness stand, paused for a few moments before answering.

For what project? she replied.

This prompted the defense lawyer to remind her that she had been asked very similar questions during her testimony in the different Sandiganbayan divisions handling the plunder and graft cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla.

Pause and think about it, Buenaventura told Sunas.

Ruffy Biazon had projects with (Napoles) from 2007 to 2009, Sunas said.

Is it possible that the name of Congressman Biazon and his transactions were in the hard drive of Benhur Luy? he asked.

To which she replied, Yes, sir.

Asked if Biazon's father, former senator and now Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, also had transactions with Napoles, she said she could not recall.

Political ally

A close friend and political ally of President Aquino, the younger Biazon quit his post as commissioner at the Bureau of Customs after he was implicated in the PDAF scam in December 2013.

Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Estrada said Sunas' testimony only showed how inaccurate their statements were.

I believe in Sunas' testimony when she said that Congressman Biazon had transactions with Napoles and that 'Cong. Biazon' is not my alias as testified to by Benhur Luy, Estrada said.

The statements of Luy and Sunas are contradicting, he added.

But Special Prosecutor Jacinto de la Cruz said the Cong. Biazon listed in Luy's ledgers was different from the actual dealings that Biazon had with Napoles.

In her testimony, Sunas also admitted that she had forged the signatures of about 600 individuals and that she had falsified some 100 documents.

So you lied 600 times. What changed now? How can we know that you are telling the truth now? Buenaventura asked.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Apr 21, 2015
Words:476
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