“There is absolutely no truth to the story given to you by ‘another country’ that I was in any way involved in the ICC decision to investigate the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines,” Loida Nicolas-Lewis said in an open letter posted on social media. Christina Mendez/File

No truth to ICC plot, says Loida Nicolas-Lewis
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American businesswoman Loida Nicolas-Lewis on Monday denied President Duterte’s allegation she was behind the move of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to examine reports of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

She called the President’s source of information bogus.

“There is absolutely no truth to the story given to you by ‘another country’ that I was in any way involved in the ICC decision to investigate the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines,” Lewis said in an open letter posted on social media.

“Any supposed transcript of a recent phone conversation is bogus,” she added.

The businesswoman issued the statement after Duterte accused her of conspiring with the ICC to get him investigated.

“I know everything, tell her that I know. It’s Loida. I have the complete transcript,” Duterte said in Filipino during a press conference last Friday.

“I was already listening to the tapes of their conversation. It was provided to me by another country but the conversation was in the Philippines and New York,” he added.

Duterte claimed hearing Lewis saying, “See you in the headquarters when the case is filed.”

“From the looks of it, it’s all politics,” said the President, referring to the ICC probe.

But according to Lewis, the claim made by Duterte was laughable as her group – the US Pinoys for Good Governance – does not even have headquarters and merely uses the internet for communications and teleconference.

She said the only time she may have used such lines was when they organized a rally in front of the United Nations headquarters in 2013 to support the Philippine delegation that filed the case against China over the South China Sea dispute.

“However, I do believe that 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,” she said in her open letter.

‘I will cross-examine’

If he gets recommended for prosecution before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for instigating extrajudicial killings, President Duterte said he would personally cross-examine its chief prosecutor to make her realize that “she is doing it wrong.” 

“I’m waiting. Tingnan ko kung gaano siya... (I’ll see how good she is). A few questions, ‘yan kaming dalawa lang (just the two of us). If she decides to file a case, I will cross-examine her there in the International Court of Justice,” Duterte said, referring to Fatou Bensouda in remarks before local government officials in Cebu City Monday night.

The ICC is about to start its preliminary examination of the killings tied to Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, which has reportedly killed thousands, mostly from slum communities.

The ICC was acting on a communication sent by lawyer Jude Sabio detailing the Senate testimony of Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of a death squad allegedly organized by Duterte when he was still Davao city mayor.

Sabio, based on Matobato’s testimony, is accusing Duterte of ordering the killing of about 1,400 people in Davao City when he was mayor and 7,000 others in his anti-drug war as president.

The opposition welcomed the ICC announcement, saying the preliminary examination is a step closer to attaining justice for victims of extrajudicial killings.

But Malacañang belittled the development, saying the crackdown against illegal drugs does not constitute a crime against humanity.

The President emphasized his controversial war on illegal drugs would continue until the end of his term.

“I told the police and the military, ‘work on it.’ I take full responsibility for the consequences of the drug campaign...whether intended or not. It will be my sole, singular responsibility, and I will answer alone,” the President said.

“If I do not move, let’s be frank, 40 percent of the total barangays in the Philippines are contaminated with shabu. There are about 9,000 barangay captains into drugs. How can I control? I will run out of time,” he added.

Duterte said he is ready to face the consequences of his actions which, he claimed, were intended to preserve the country and its youth. 

“If I die, I don’t mind. I am old. I have completed all of my dreams. All my dreams, all the accolades, all the applause, I’m done with all of them. I do not need it really,” he added.– Alexis Romero

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