Press Release
September 27, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 390:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on Francis Tolentino's Gross Ignorance of Election Law and of His Own Case


Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino should study his own election protest case with his lawyers before talking about it in public because he only exposes his ignorance about his own case.

He claims that if I resign (Gosh, why should I?), he automatically takes his oath as senator. He says this was the case when Sen. Migz Zubiri resigned. Sen. Koko Pimentel who filed an election protest against Zubiri assumed the position he vacated.

There is no provision in our election laws which states that if the 12th-ranked winning senator resigns, the 13th-ranked but losing senatorial candidate automatically becomes senator. The 13th ranking senatorial candidate will always be a loser. He will never be a senator unless he is proclaimed the rightful winner in an election protest. And Tolentino is still light-years away from proving in the election protest he filed against me that he actually won in the 2016 senatorial elections.

In the case of Senators Pimentel and Zubiri, what happened was that Zubiri resigned because he already knew by then that Pimentel was going to win the election protest between them. Sen. Pimentel became senator not because Zubiri resigned, but because he won his election protest case against Zubiri and was proclaimed the 12th winning senatorial candidate in that elections.

That Tolentino cannot even get this simple fact straight explains his absolute ignorance about the facts of his own election protest case. This includes his allegations of cheating which up to now he cannot prove or clearly explain in public.

He settles with a general allegation of cheating, supposedly committed by the COMELEC through a so-called Super Service of His conspiracy theory might be alluring as a plot for a cheap paperback novel, but it is another matter altogether proving it before the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Up to now his elaborate conspiracy theory remains a fantastic story that only losers in elections are capable of concocting.

Finally, his election protest case is so near bankruptcy that he is desperate enough to use the same convicted criminals used against me by the Duterte Administration.

In the first place, his cited ground of failure to report to COMELEC the convicts' alleged contributions is not proper in an election protest case.

Besides, these individuals are even disqualified by law from becoming state witnesses because they are criminal convicts. The law deems their word unreliable and untrustworthy. The claim of some of them that they gave money for my campaign funds is an absolute falsehood. Tolentino's reliance on the word of convicted criminals to support his case only shows how hollow it already is.

Tolentino's election protest case remains a sputtering engine that has failed to take off from the very start for lack of any evidence that he was cheated. My advice to him is that he should take his defeat like an honorable man, and just prove himself worthy of the post by winning in the next elections.

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