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Long arm of Lewis

Efforts to reclaim power will be something personal for Lewis, who believes that her mission is to dismantle the support that the President and his allies count on.



Don’t even entertain the thought that the pink campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo will be short of funds as the signal to open the golden tap has been issued with the filing with the Ombudsman of a complaint against Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Cusi is also president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party of President Rodrigo Duterte that makes him fair game for the likes of New York billionaire heiress Loida Nicolas-Lewis, who led the complainants against the parties involved in the mega transaction on the Malampaya natural gas project.

Robredo’s Liberal Party (LP) had tried to impress that it will be relying on public contributions through crowdfunding, which the Commission on Elections, however, flagged as a possible scheme to obtain funds that are not allowed under election laws.

“It should be noted that two of the alleged complainants are Filipino-Americans who were reportedly identified with the ‘Oust Duterte’ movement in the United States,” the DoE said in a statement, referring to Lewis and Rodel Rodis, who is a member of the California Bar.

“Coincidence or not, the timing of the filing of the case is curiously close to the onset of the political season with the recent filing of the Certificates of Candidacy of national and local candidates for elective office,” the statement read.

Cusi dared the complainants to “come here, so they can be within reach of our justice system when we get to establish that they are guilty of perjury.”

Lewis was identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as the leader of a determined drive to boot him out of office right when he started his term. She supported the failed presidential bid of President Noynoy Aquino’s anointed, Mar Roxas.

Lewis is the widow of Richard Lewis, the richest African-American businessman in the 1980s.

The President referred to Lewis as having funded mass demonstrations, as among the efforts to oust him.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar vouched for the revelations of Mr. Duterte, saying that he had received information from the Filipino-American community about plans to oust Mr. Duterte “because of his alleged human rights violations and continuous attacks against the US.”

President Duterte also said he had heard a taped conversation proving that Lewis is among those bankrolling the progress of the case against him at the International Criminal Court.

“I was already listening to the tapes of their conversation. It was provided to me by another country, but the conversation was somewhere in the Philippines and New York,” Mr. Duterte said
“Loida was one of them. And there was this, ‘See you in the headquarters when the case is filed,’” he added.

Lewis was part of a 25-person delegation from the US-Philippines Society, a private group comprising business executives and diplomats, who met with Duterte a week before his inauguration.

She was accompanied then by former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia, retired American diplomats, executives from Coca Cola, SGV, JP Morgan and other top corporations.

Nicolas-Lewis is the sister of former Arroyo National Anti-Poverty Commission chair Imelda Nicolas, who was part of the “Hyatt 10” Cabinet that abandoned then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005 due to the “Hello Garci” election scandal. Imelda and most of the Hyatt 10 members ended up having key posts in the succeeding Aquino administration. Imelda was appointed head of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Efforts to reclaim power will be something personal for Lewis, who believes that her mission is to dismantle the support that the President and his allies count on for the continuity thrust.