President Duterte himself spreads fake news [v2]
Early in the morning of 12 February, I received an email from my friend and colleague, Loida Nicolas Lewis, in New York, refuting the lies that President Rodrigo Duterte pronounced at a press briefing on Friday 9th February at the Matina Enclaves Residence in Davao City, as reported in the daily Philippine Star. Duterte claimed that he had prior knowledge of the ICC case, purportedly based on a telephone conversation recorded between Lewis and an unidentified individual. In her email Lewis said -- "There is absolutely no truth to the story that I was in any way involved in the International Criminal Court's (ICC) decision to investigate the Extra Judicial Killings in the Philippines. Any supposed transcript of a phone conversation is bogus. Just President Duterte’s statement that I allegedly said " See you in the headquarters when the case is filed" is laughable because US Pinoys for Good Governance does NOT have a headquarters!!! We use the internet for communications and teleconference. However, I do believe that the murder without due process of our fellow Filipinos on suspicion of drug dealing is reprehensible and goes against the laws of both God and man." The problem is the President and his men/women have been accusing the New York-based Filipino community leader of funding efforts to unseat him right from the beginning of his term. This time Duterte claimed he had the complete transcript of the supposed telephoned conversation from foreign highly placed friends. Duterte has of course lied repeatedly to the Filipino people. In one of the more notorious instances recently, he claimed that opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes had bank accounts in Singapore, even showing the supposed bank details. The Senator went to Singapore and disproved the fake news. There have been other instances when the Duterte administration came up with fake testimonies of drugs dealing in order to jail another opposition Senator, Leila de Lima, who has been incarcerated for a year now on trumped up charges, with unreliable testimonies provided by jailed drug lords. I have no reason to doubt Loida Lewis who has only shown leadership not just of US Filipinos, but also of all Overseas Filipinos as a leader of the Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC). She was one of the 245 overseas Filipino leaders who gave birth to the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD) following a 3 day conference in Rome in 2012. She also attended the launching in Dubai of the Middle East & Africa Network of Filipino Diaspora (MEANFiD). She was instrumental in filing a case to give overseas Filipinos a vote, which ironically may have helped Duterte gain power. [To view Atty Loida Lewis, encouraging overseas Filipinos to register to vote, please check out https://youtu.be/iurcXg4WIMw ].
[Atty Loida Lewis leading a delegation of Overseas Filipino Leaders to speak to Senator Loren Legarda on overseas Filipino matters and the need to give them overseas voting rights, not absentee voting, as overseas Filipinos are never absent. They are only at another geographical location but remain very much attached to the country and to their families.] Last year, Duterte's ubertrolls Thinking Pinoy and Rogando Sasot tried to implicate Loida Lewis, myself and a few other people in Lenileaks, a totally baseless conspiracy supposedly to bring the President down. It was based on a few non-confidential discussion emails of Board members of the GFDC which Sasot or TP was able to obtain from the internet. Secretary Martin Andanar was all over himself trying to get the conspiracy tabled at a Cabinet meeting. However, a more sensible Cabinet member (Sec Lorenzana I believe) apparently shut it down for the blatant lie that it was. I have known her now for over 5 years, always in the context of the welfare of Overseas Filipinos, and the development of the Philippines, and my confidence is in what Loida Lewis says. I respect the Office of the President, but it is hard for me to believe everything the current incumbent says. [NOTE: The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on 8th February 2018 that it will commence a Preliminary Examination of the extra judicial killings (EJKs) situation in the Philippines , with a view to possibly investigating allegations of crimes against humanity. The President and his supporters/ubertrolls have since been busy trying to belittle the work of the ICC, even threatening for the Philippines to withdraw from the ICC to avoid any examination or investigation into the EJKs.]