‘By MB Online
Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Filipino-American billionaire lobbyist at the center of the “#LeniLeaks” controversy, denied there is such a plot to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.
“First: No plot to oust Duterte,” Lewis said in her statement reported by GMA News. “Resign Duterte Movement is based on President Duterte’s own words that he would resign if drugs are still rampant six month(s) after his inauguration.”
Lewis is tagged in revelations about the leaked correspondence in the Yahoo! group of a so-called Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC) that purportedly shows the Office of the Vice President’s involvement in moves to disparage President Rodrigo Duterte in the world stage.
Lewis said, “Global Filipino Diaspora Council is a Public Site. If there is a conspiracy, would it be discussed in a public page?”
Thinking Pinoy, the blogger who revealed the leaked emails, contested in one of his posts that the group has been set to private.
She then said, “Dissent is NOT equivalent to a plot or conspiracy.”
“In a democracy, opinions of varying shades, either praise or criticism, are a staple ingredient of a vibrant democracy,” GMA News quoted her as saying. “Since when has criticism become an element of sedition?”
Lewis earlier broke her silence in a statement issued via her Facebook page on Monday, January 9.
Though the post did not directly address the issue, Lewis defended her “right, even a duty, to be involved in our homeland and participate as much as we can in its politics” despite being overseas.
“Just because we are Overseas Filipinos (OFs) do not mean that we have lost our right to be involved in or speak out on developments in our home country.”
“It is in that spirit of caring and brotherhood that we speak out on developments in the Philippines. We will continue to do so because if we did not, we would be untrue to who we are (sic): Filipinos, like you,” Lewis said.
She took the cudgels for fellow overseas Filipinos with dual citizenship like her. “It is therefore wrong to disparage or demean comments from overseas Filipinos.”
Lewis also pointed out the contribution of overseas Filipinos to the country’s economic growth. “At least one out of every eight Filipinos lives overseas. Our remittances are a major boost for the Philippine economy.”
“Love of country is not limited to those who reside in the Philippines. A waiter on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, an accountant working with a New York City firm, a nurse caring for patients in the suburbs of London—we are all a part of the greater Philippine nation.”
Even if they reside overseas, Lewis said they “always try to give back to the motherland.”
“As for me, I founded The Lewis College in my hometown of Sorsogon, which is offers low and affordable tuition for college in the Bicol Region, and about 25% of those in College are on scholarship,” she said.
The #LeniLeaks controversy, which unfolded over the weekend by blogger Thinking Pinoy via a tip received by fellow netizen Sass Rogando Sasot, detailed the conversations over the GFDC group showing what seemed to be a well-orchestrated plan to denigrate the president and former senator Bongbong Marcos—who contests the electoral victory of incumbent vice president Robredo.
Lewis is a Fil-Am businesswoman and widow of TLC Beatrice founder Reginald Lewis. A known supporter of the Liberal Party, she had been a vocal critic of President Duterte.
The president had previously alluded to her as a rich woman who is a financier of a massive demonstration against him.
Aside from Lewis, the other major players in the GFDC include:
- Imelda Nicolas, Lewis’ sister and head of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas
- Jose Molano Jr., CFO commissioner
- Ted Liguatan, Philippine Daily Inquirer U.S. Bureau correspondent
- Gene Alcantara, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau correspondent
- Filomenita Hogsholm, influential North E.U. civil society leader
The vice president has already dismissed the controversy as “purely ridiculous.”
Prior to the #LeniLeaks controversy, Robredo has been accused of supporting efforts to oust Duterte, which the vice president had repeatedly denied.
Tags: #LeniLeaks, email leaks, GFDC, Global Filipino Diaspora Council, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Loida Nicolas Lewis denies plot to oust Duterte, Manila Bulletin, overseas Filipinos, Rodrigo Duterte, Yahoo! group