Housekeeper, not Loida Lewis, is most influential Filipino-American

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YEN MAKABENTA

YEN MAKABENTA

First read
The suspicion of President Duterte and his administration that Filipino-American businesswoman Loida Nicolas-Lewis is leading a plot from the US to topple the president is turning out to be an urban legend with no legs.

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Ms. Lewis, because of her money (she is the widow of a wealthy American businessman), her connections with Democratic party politicians and US government officials, her chairmanship of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NAFFA), appears on paper as the most formidable and best connected Filipino- American (male or female) living today. In addition, she has had a long association with the yellow cult of the Aquinos and the Liberal Party in the Philippines.

Under scrutiny, however, this business of Lewis plotting the overthrow of Duterte is probably more paranoid than real. For a conspiracy directed from Washington, Lewis loses altitude as a person of interest, because in truth, she is not the most influential, best connected, or most well-entrenched Filipino-American today.

That distinction belongs to another lady, and she is none other than Ms. Marina Santos, the maid/housekeeper of Hillary Clinton at her Whitehaven home in Washington D.C.

In a major scoop on Sunday, the New York Post reported that Ms. Santos stands at the center of the e-mail controversy that has battered Clinton‘s campaign for the US presidency over the past few months

Handling state secrets and house chores
According to the Post report, Hillary Clinton as secretary of state routinely asked Ms. Santos to print out sensitive government e-mails and documents — including some containing classified information — from her house in Washington, DC, e-mails and FBI memos show. The housekeeper does not have the security clearance to handle such material.

Ms. Santos was called on so frequently to receive e-mails that she may hold the secrets to E-mailgate — if only the FBI and Congress would subpoena her and the equipment she used.

Clinton entrusted far more than the care of her DC residence to Santos. She expected the Filipino immigrant to handle state secrets, further opening the Democratic presidential nominee to criticism that she played fast and loose with national security.

Clinton would first receive highly sensitive e-mails from top aides at the State Department and then request that they, in turn, forward the messages and any attached documents to Santos to print out for her at her home.

Among other things, Clinton requested Santos to print out drafts of her speeches, confidential memos and “call sheets” — background information and talking points prepared for the secretary of state in advance of a phone call with a foreign head of state.

“Pls ask Marina to print for me in am,” Clinton e-mailed top aide Huma Abedin regarding a redacted 2011 message marked sensitive but unclassified.

In a classified 2012 e-mail dealing with the new president of Malawi, another Clinton aide, Monica Hanley, advised Clinton, “We can ask Marina to print this.”

“Revisions to the Iran points” was the subject line of a classified April 2012 e-mail to Clinton from Hanley. In it, the text reads, “Marina is trying to print for you.”

Both classified e-mails were marked “confidential,” the tier below “secret” or “top secret.”

Santos also had access to a highly secure room called an SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) that diplomatic security agents set up at Whitehaven, according to FBI notes from an interview with Abedin.

From within the SCIF, Santos — who had no clearance — “collected documents from the secure facsimile machine for Clinton,” the FBI notes revealed.

Just how sensitive were the papers Santos presumably handled? The FBI noted that Clinton periodically received the Presidential Daily Brief — a top-secret document prepared by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies — via the secure fax.

A 2012 “sensitive” but unclassified e-mail from Hanley to Clinton refers to a fax the staff wanted Clinton “to see before your Netanyahu meeting. Marina will grab for you.”

Yet it appears Clinton was never asked by the FBI in its yearlong investigation to turn over the iMac Santos used to receive the e-mails, or the printer she used to print out the documents, or the printouts themselves.

FBI did not interview Santos
It also appears that the FBI did not formally interview Santos as a key witness in its investigation.

This is a major oversight: Santos may know the whereabouts of a missing Apple MacBook laptop and USB flash drive that contain all of Clinton’s e-mails archived over her four years in office.

In 2013, Hanley downloaded Clinton’s e-mails from her private server to the MacBook and flash drive.

“The two copies of the Clinton e-mail archive (one on the archive laptop and one on the thumb drive) were intended to be stored in Clinton’s Chappaqua and Whitehaven residences,” the FBI said in its case summary.

But Hanley says the devices were “lost,” and the FBI says it “does not have either item in its possession.”

In addition to Abedin, Santos worked closely with Hanley at Whitehaven and could shed light on the mystery — if only she were asked about it.

When a Post reporter confronted Santos at her DC apartment Friday, she would say only, “I do not speak to reporters.”

According to a 2010 profile in The Philippine Star, close Clinton friend Vernon Jordan recommended Santos to the Clintons after she worked part-time for him.

When Bill Clinton gave a speech in Manila as part of his foundation work, he took time to visit with the family of the “mayordoma [housekeeper]of his Washington, DC, home — Marina Santos.”

Clinton was quoted as describing Santos as the “wonderful woman who runs our home in Washington, without whom Hillary will not be able to serve as secretary of state.” The article ended with the remark: “Marina now runs his house so that he and his wife can better serve interests higher than their own.”

Milking connection to celebrity
If the closing polls for the US election prove accurate and Donald Trump does not stage a Truman-like surprise, Hillary Clinton will be proclaimed as the next president of the US come January.

Marina Santos will similarly rise in importance, as well as in pay and position.

She could become a top witness in the Clinton e-mailgate inquiry, because the Republicans are certain to press for further investigation of the scandal, whether they win or lose the White House.

We Filipinos have the shameful habit of milking the smallest connection to a celebrity, for every ounce of significance, as though the connection will confirms something worthy about us or our country.

If Hillary wins, Marina Santos will provide plenty of banality for us to wear on our sleeves.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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15 Comments

  1. It looks like Nicolas-Lewis has lost whatever little influence she has left because it appears that The Donald is on his way to victory!

  2. Interesting in the US we are reading how China has been funneling money to du30 and family for years. That the real goal is du30 to create a communist state under the guidance of China whereas he can rule as Kim does N. Korea.

  3. Mr. Makabenta, I am sure the house of our biggest Ate is huge, and Marina Santos had no time to read those emails she printed for Ate. Marina Santos had important work to finish in the hosue, more important than reading those emails, which were not her priority and concerns. Might be that she would just passed by in the computer room to print emails, rushing to finish it for her next work either to clean or cook. She has no time for sure to recall what she printed for Ate, just as Marina Santos has no time to recall how many times she went back and forth to print, moving back and forth from side to side of the hosue to clean and put order in the house. Might be that she would have even forgotten to eat, and how many times she would have forgoten to eat due to so many works, she could not recall anymore. Marina Santos work is not meant to recall what she does everyday, besides Marina Santos memory to recall all those bygone days in her life in the house of our biggest Ate and biggest Kuya must have been lapsed already to remember. Unless Marina Santos had intentionally forgotten all her works, then she is obliged to remember those works. But at this point in time we are not sure how big and powerful the memory of Marina Santos. Mr. Makabenta, I would say therefore that your write up, your prepositions over Marina Santos are all hallucinations, a joke and a fantacy story in the house of our biggest Ate and kuya.

  4. price paid author! stupid article just to mislead the story behind the plotter.. Loida nicolas-lewis

  5. It’s really a WOW, now we waste our time about USA election that at end of the day the newly elected US President is not interested and will not be treat the Republic of the Philippine as a sovereign country.
    Really we are so dependent to USA no matter what, we bow our heads to American and dream of becoming a US citizen.
    I find this column never written constructive opinion and/or suggestion for the betterment of the Philippines.

  6. Hillary hasn’t won as of this writing and Marina Santos has already provided enough banality for you to write an entire column about her.

  7. Wow! Finally an answer to the riddle of the Clinton emails. Did the FBI miss this angle? And what about the Republicans, the tea party, the NRA, the hard right, include here the those hard praying evangelicals(don’t bother trump and his surrogates-facts dont matter to them)-they all missed this. Years of trying to pin down Hillary by these groups have not yielded the smoking gun but now it is here. Hurry then it is just a day before the door closes on this great discovery

  8. Their Hite HOuse Chef was a Filipina. Their personal doctor was a Fillipino. Now their mayordoma is a Filipina. That does make Hillary a Pinoy lover?

  9. Mr. Makabenta, It does not matter who and where the anti Du30 personality comes from. It’s irrelevant. They’re not Filipinos anymore! The fact is that whatever you say, the majority of the Filipinos loves and supports the president.

    You can continue to pontificate all you want, but the fact is that your opinion will remain an opinion of the minority!

  10. What a misleading article meant to deflect attention away from Loida Nicolas Lewis ! The house keeper of Clinton is not active in Philippine politics like Nicolas-Lewis is! Either the writer is ignorant or a paid hack by Nicolas -Lewis.

  11. Marina SANTOS,housekeeper of Hillary Clinton, may spell her doom in her quest for the Presidency!