Fil-Am philanthropist: Duterte resignation, yes; ouster, no
Although she is calling for his resignation, Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis is not supporting calls for President Rodrigo Duterte's ouster from office.
"I do not support any calls for his *forced* ouster," Lewis said in a post on Facebook. "Naniniwala ako na ang kabutihan ay laging mananaig sa huli."
Lewis, however, admitted that she wants Duterte to resign, noting his supposed failure to fulfill his promise of ridding the country of the illegal drug problem in the first three to six months of his administration.
"I joined a call started by others to ASK the President to Resign, which he promised he would do if he did not solve the drug problem in 3-6 months," she said.
"Ang pagbitiw ni President Duterte sa kanyang posisyon, kung hindi na niya kaya itong gampanan, ay isang legal at mapayapang paraan ng pagbabago," added Lewis, who supported the Liberal Party (LP) in the May elections.
But despite her denial, Malacañang believes Lewis could be behind the plot to oust Duterte.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Assistant Secretary Anna Marie Rafael-Banaag of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said Duterte was aware of Lewis' actions against him as early as July or August.
"You know, the President has been vocal about that, noong August kung maalala ninyo, the President raised ‘yung tungkol kay Ms. Lewis, July or August, and nobody was talking about it, nobody believe it. And now, Ms. Lewis is going out in the open and saying let’s oust President Duterte," she said.
"And perhaps in his mind and from other sources he may know that, there is something going on up there, a plot against him. A plot to oust him, he knows—the President had been in politics for many years. So he knows what—whenever he says something about ousting or plotting against him," she added.
In a speech on Wednesday, Duterte accused the "yellows" — the color associated with the LP — of wanting to remove him from office. Lawmakers from the LP denied this.
But despite Duterte's remarks, Banaag said the president is not keen on conducting loyalty check among law enforcers, even after it was reported that some LP members have met with some police and military officials.
"Like I said, the president is very secure, he knows that he's working. He knows that he has the support of the military and most, majority of the Filipino people," she said. —KBK, GMA News