Some people think Ed Artis is obsessed. Others say he's crazy.
Artis says he just wants to clear a friend's good name.But Artis' friendship nearly landed him in a Philippines jail cell last week.
Artis traveled thousands of miles in an attempt to personally convince Philippine officials that a Provo woman - convicted of gun smuggling - is innocent.
The Manila trip is Artis' latest attempt to set Dominique Adams free. Last May, he helped her escape from the Philippines.
"I'm not the lunatic I appear to be," he told the Deseret News in a phone interview from Malaysia.
Artis flew to the Philippines last week to meet with prosecutors and the judge who convicted Adams of gun smuggling. She received a 17- to 20-year prison sentence. Artis wanted to confront officials personally because his long-distance efforts seemed to go unheeded.
But Artis didn't get his confrontation. He cut his Philippines visit short after he was warned he was being set up and could very well be thrown in jail.
"I got out of there as quickly as I could . . . I'm feeling like a failure somewhat, but I'm relieved I'm not in jail," he said. "Their intent was to keep me there until Dominique came back."
"I think his fears were founded in a way," said Renon Cruz, Adams' defense attorney in Manila. In a letter Artis sent to prosecutors several weeks ago, Artis "admitted participation in springing out" Adams from the Philippines, according to Cruz.
Assistant Pasay City Attorney Rolando Abrazaldo said Artis would likely have been jailed. "If there is a case of evidence that he conspired or assisted Dominique Adams, I think he would be arrested."
Customs agents arrested Adams at a Manila airport Aug. 19, 1989, after discovering 70 handguns in crates marked "auto parts." Adams claims she was tricked into transporting them by a man who is now serving a prison sentence for the crime.
After spending 10 months fighting the charges against her, Adams fled the country with the help of Artis and two other Americans. A month later, Philippine Judge Fermin Martin found her guilty, explaining that "flight is indicative of a guilty mind."
Artis maintains he was forced to flee the country with Adams after independent journalist Scott Osborne mysteriously obtained Adams' passport and plane ticket from her court file -- a charge Osborne denies.
"At that point, all of us were guilty in that country," Adams said. "When he (Osborne) showed us the passport, the die was cast. We knew we had to flee," added Artis.
Because Adams' health waws poor, they decided to flee with her, a woman Artis had met only hours before.
Today, Dominique Adams is home in Utah, reunited with he family. U.S. officials believe she is innocent and say this country has no extradition treaty with the Philippines. Therefore, Adams should remain free, unless she decides to return to the Philippines -- something she has no plans to do.
But Artis isn't content.
"It's a matter of principle to me," he said. "Dominique is always going to be a convicted gun smuggler and I'm responsible for the conviction."
Writer Bill O'Hagan, who flew to the Philippines with Artis and Osborne to meet Adams and consider making a movie about her story, said he advises Artis to stop worrying about the case. But Artis doesn't want to listen.
"He just says, 'I'm going to see it through to the end and get her exonerated,'" O'Hagan explained. "He's a crazy kind of guy to be around, but he's a principled man. He has his own code of honor and ethics."
Artis invests much time helping others and never seeks recognition, said O'Hagan. As a soldier in Vietnam, he devoted his off-duty time to help war victims and fellow soldiers. He was instrumental in building a school and recreation facility, and devoted hours to treating Cambodian war refugees for disease.
Artis hopes information he gave the press will help officials understande his quest. "I've made more than a diligent effort to set the record straight, and I ain't doing it no more."
But his words are barely out when he seems to contradict himself.
"My next step will be to write to (President) Corazon Aquino to explain to her what is going on..."