Loida Lewis denies ‘anti-Estrada’ tag of ex-senator Jinggoy
Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis on Thursday denied former Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s claim that she turned “anti-Erap” when she failed to buy the Philippine National Bank (PNB) during former President Joseph Estrada’s term.
Estrada, in an interview with reporters, claimed that Lewis “started the anti-Erap crusade” when the Department of Finance allegedly found that she, upon evaluation of her finances, was “not qualified to make the purchase.”
But in a Facebook message to INQUIRER.net, Lewis explained that it was her who had withdrawn from the bidding process in the PNB acquisition after her potential bank partner withdrew.
Lewis also said that she could not have started the anti-Estrada campaign since she herself had “campaigned for him in the 1998 elections.”
“Jinggoy has a fertile imagination to say what he said about the PNB deal. The auction rule says that only banks and financial institutions are eligible to make a bid for PNB,” the Filipino-American philanthropist said.
“At the last minute, the night before the submission of bids, my potential bank partner withdrew. So as an individual, I was not eligible and had to withdraw from the bidding process,” she explained.
Lewis is the national chairperson of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG), the group that reportedly denied having sent an invitation to former senator Estrada and have him speak before its members in Michigan on May 20.
Estrada claimed that Lewis “interfered in the affairs of the (USPGG’s) local chapter” which resulted into the purported revocation of his invitation to attend the organization’s event.
The USPGG, in an earlier statement, said William Dechavez, chair of the USPGG Michigan chapter, “did not invite Jinggoy Estrada to speak in Michigan under USPGG nor was any program planned by USPGG Michigan.”
The statement added that a certain Tony Antonio had asked Dechavez to invite Estrada. Dechavez supposedly told Antonio that “it could only be done in his personal capacity, not as chair of USPGG Michigan.”
The purported USPGG invitation was the basis of a decision by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to grant Estrada’s request for a month-long trip to the United States with his family. /muf
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