Tolentino withdraws election protest vs De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant Francis Tolentino has withdrawn his electoral protest against Senator Leila de Lima before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).
In a motion filed on Jan. 19, Tolentino said he “voluntarily” withdrew his protest as he will have to “indulge” being a senatorial aspirant in the May 2019 elections.
“However, in view of an impending rigorous national campaign herein Protestant will have to indulge himself into few weeks from now, being a senatorial candidate in the upcoming May 2019 elections for which his undivided attention for the same is indispensable and considering the mentioned Resolution, Protestant decides it best to voluntarily withdraw his protest,” the motion read.
Tolentino, who ranked 13th in the 2016 senatorial race, said there were irregularities in the counting of votes in previous polls, which allowed De Lima to land at the 12th spot — the last slot for the then Senate hopefuls.
He said he should have won in the 2016 elections if two million votes, which he claims have been lost, had been counted under his name. He also claimed that he could have placed 12th if there was no cheating.
However, he said the withdrawal of his protest against De Lima is not a sign of “surrender” in proving the existence of election fraud in 2016.
“Such withdrawal is borne out of pure employment of practicality and by no means to be taken as surrender of Protestants cause in proving and exposing election fraud committed against his then candidacy and public interest in general,” the motion stated.
He added that he is withdrawing with his “head held up high and pride and honor” for himself and for those who “aspire for free and honest elections.”
In October 2018, Tolentino filed a motion to suspend his poll protest against De Lima as he is seeking a Senate seat in the 2019 elections. But the motion to suspend was then denied by the SET in Resolution 16-140 dated Nov. 22, 2018.
Tolentino said the denial was “unfortunate” as he filed the motion in good faith, but he also “humbly and fully” respect the SET ruling. /ee
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