De Lima asks SET to hold Tolentino in contempt
Published: 2:57 p.m., Oct. 24, 2017 | Updated: 11:51 p.m., Oct. 24, 2017
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima has asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to hold 13th-ranked candidate Francis Tolentino in contempt for making false and misleading statements about purported irregularities that emerged from the manual recount of 635 ballot boxes last week.
In a motion filed on Tuesday through lawyer Teddy Esteban Rigoroso, De Lima said Tolentino should be “meted with appropriate sanction” for violating the sub judice rule when he talked about his legal team’s observations in an interview with reporters on Friday.
The motion cited the news articles carried by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as two other broadsheets, The Manila Times and The Philippine Star.
Tolentino had told reporters that during the recount, 2,013 ballots were found in a ballot box used in the 2016 elections in Calbayog City.
He also raised the issue of garnering zero votes in Isabela City in Basilan and six municipalities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, saying this was curious and “statistically impossible,” because he at least had a poll watcher in the said areas.
He also found “improbable” that he lost in some municipalities in Maguindanao that badly while winning in the province as a whole.
De Lima said Tolentino’s statement “serves no purpose but to mislead the public and this tribunal,” adding that he was “trying to insinuate fraud or irregularity that is not really there.”
“When 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,” she said in her motion filed through her lawyer Teddy Rigoroso.
Tolentino, who garnered 12,518,891 votes in the balloting last year, had filed an electoral protest against De Lima, who secured the 12th Senate seat by 1.28 million votes. The senator got 13,793,947 votes.
Asked to comment on De Lima’s motion, Tolentino told reporters in a text message: “I have yet to receive a copy of De Lima’s motion. I will study it together with my lawyers and thereafter make a reply.”
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