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Fil-Am widow, Soros tagged in anti-Rody US moves

A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him. TOTO LOZANO/PPD

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipina widow of a wealthy African-American was tagged by President Duterte yesterday as one of those behind alleged efforts in the United States to unseat him.

It was the first time that Duterte provided specifics about the personalities behind the supposed ouster moves. Malacañang had promised to unmask the individuals.

While no name was mentioned, the description fitted that of Loida Nicolas-Lewis, whose husband, billionaire businessman Reginald Lewis, died in 1993. Lewis is the sister of Imelda Nicolas, who headed the commission on overseas Filipinos during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

Addressing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Duterte also identified billionaire George Soros as a financier of efforts to pin him down for gross human rights violations.

Duterte accused the two people with “Western persuasion” of being in the forefront of destabilization talks against his administration.

“If they do not want me, I will make it easy for them. And if the military or the police think that I do not… no need for coup d’etat. You are wasting your bullet. Go to Malacañang, we’ll have coffee and I myself will swear you in to run this Republic and solve the problem. No problem,” Duterte told the gathering of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in its regional convention at Manila Hotel last night.

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“Next year, there will be mass demonstrations, for all I care I have no illusions. Do not give me a reason to go out because you might have… you might get your wish,” he said.

In the 1980s, Reginald Lewis was considered as the richest African-American in the US. In 1992, the TLC Beatrice founder and CEO was listed by Forbes among the 400 richest Americans with a net worth of $400 million.

Duterte claimed the Filipino-American has been planning “mass demonstrations” next year in a bid to oust him from office. 

Duterte described the financier as “an affluent businesswoman” who has been “planning for two months already.”

Faced with serious concerns about human rights abuses that marked his bloody drug war, Duterte said the plotters wanted to “run the Republic… and they will run the country.”

“Fine, I don’t have problem with that. I have many friends in the military,” he said, adding he is ready to give them power without any resistance.

Duterte said he also deserves a rest – noting the complications and heavy burden of the presidency now on his shoulders.

The campaign was launched in the US, apparently the same coup plot earlier exposed by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar about two weeks ago at the height of the human rights concerns raised against the President.

Duterte mentioned Soros as the other financier in the ouster moves. George Soros is one of the world’s most active philanthropists, extending his generous reach to more than 60 countries, including the Philippines.

“All those who are of Western persuasion,” he described those working to remove him from office because of his tirades against the US and President Barack Obama.

Soros is the founder and chairman of Open Society, a network of foundations, partners and projects in more than 100 countries, including human rights and pro-democracy groups in the Philippines.

Military unrest 

As Duterte talked about financiers of the ouster plots, he also encouraged the military and human rights advocates to craft a plan on how to solve the drug problem and the insurgency in Mindanao.

In the same speech, Duterte called on “the military who do not agree with me” because of his “tirades against America.”

“So, if you think that you can help, tell me and I will appoint you to a group of advisers with a rank of a Cabinet (member), and I will follow your instructions to a tee... to all of you who dislike me,” he said.
Duterte said there is no need to launch any coup since he is ready to give up the presidency.

In the same event, Duterte repeatedly said he had no intention to become President but he now has to live up to it because of the mandate given to him by the people in the last elections.

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