President Rodrigo Duterte has stated that he is in possession of a transcript of a telephone conversation that Filipino-American millionaire Loida Nicolas Lewis held with an unknown official regarding her role in a conspiracy to bring Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of “extra judicial killings”. Loida Nicolas Lewis has been an outspoken Duterte critic who has campaigned against the Filipino President’s popular anti-crime initiative which has tackled the narcotics problem in the country, along with its richly funded black markets, which are a major source of funding for terrorist groups.
Loida, who inherited the lion’s share of her wealth from her late American husband, has come out and denied that she has made phone calls to officials advocating for the trying of Duterte at the ICC. She has stated, “There is absolutely no truth to the story given to you by “another country”, that I was in any way involved in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to investigate the Extra Judicial Killings in the Philippines”.
Days before, Duterte stated,
“We waited for it last Tuesday, but there was nothing. I know everything, tell her (Loida) that I know. It’s Loida. I have the complete transcript. I was already listening to the tapes of their conversation. It was provided to me by another country but the conversation was in Philippines and New York. Loida (Lewis) was one of them. And there was this, ‘See you in the headquarters when the case is filed.’ Blah blah blah blah blah blah”.
Loida called Duterte’s statement “fake news”, although her profile and past activities, in addition to her vehemently anti-Duterte position speaks to the fact that Duterte is telling the truth. Duterte has seen the transcript of the phone call but he is not apparently in possession of the original recording.
Whoever is in possession of the original recording now has an ethical duty to release it to the public, so that whoever is telling the truth can be vindicated. Based on the records of both individuals involved, it is almost certain that Duterte is being honest while Loida is hoping that the recording never sees the light of day.