De Lima seeks SET’s contempt vs Tolentino
Detained Senator Leila de Lima urged on Tuesday the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to cite in contempt presidential political affairs adviser and losing senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino for discussing his electoral protest in the media.
In a five-page motion, De Lima, through her legal counsel Teddy Rigoroso, accused Tolentino of violating the sub-judice rule after granting several media interviews about the progress of his electoral protest.
De Lima said Tolentino “misled” the public and the SET by making it appear that there were “several ballot boxes in pilot precincts of Calbayog City, Western Samar that contained ballots used during the 2013 midterm elections.”
“In the three revision days, protestant Tolentino made no recovery on physical count in the areas where he alleged the existence of fraud and irregularities, and yet publicly he acts as though he was a victim of fraud and the perpetrator was protestee De Lima,” the motion stated.
“When protestant Tolentino makes false and misleading utterances, the integrity of the Tribunal’s proceedings is put in question. Such public utterances also tend to violate the sub judice rule,” it added.
In a story published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday, Tolentino claimed these old ballots “showed symptoms” of irregularity in the Calbayog City elections.
He also questioned why he got zero votes in Isabela City, Basilan province, and six other areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
De Lima criticized Tolentino’s claims, saying that the “doctrine of statistical improbability does not apply especially since she also garnered zero votes in the same precincts” that Tolentino identified as his pilot precincts.
In 2016, De Lima, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, secured the 12th Senate seat with 13.8 million votes, ahead of Tolentino’s 12.5 million votes. /kga