Dispatch from Crame No. 238: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Francis Tolentino’s baseless protest and accusations against her

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I see that Francis Tolentino has busied himself hurling accusations once again that I cheated my way into my Senate seat.

I should be furious but I am surprisingly not as furious as some would hope me to be.

Truth be told that, per reliable sources, Mr. Tolentino intended to withdraw his baseless protest right after the 1st week of the ballot recount before the Senate Electoral Tribunal. He had hoped to find something that can back up his claim that he was cheated but he found none.

Despite knowing this, he continued to spend millions upon millions of his resources because he was hoping to please his new master. Nakikisawsaw na rin siya sa walang-humpay na paninira sakin. I am dismayed at what he has become.

So pathetic of Mr. Tolentino in urging me to do a Migz Zubiri, meaning, resign purportedly out of delicadeza because of his then looming defeat in the electoral protest case lodged by Koko Pimentel. Need Mr. Tolentino be reminded that Pimentel’s protest was clearly meritorious as proven by the revision results of massively manufactured election returns from then Ampatuan-controlled province of Maguindanao?

I know that because I was Koko Pimentel’s election lawyer. Tolentino’s protest, patently frivolous and baseless as it is, is nothing compared to the Pimentel protest.

Mr. Tolentino, you lost your senatorial bid, and this was confirmed upon the opening of the ballot boxes from the 650 clustered precincts that you designated as best exemplifying the alleged fraud or irregularity. You know that the revision/recount of ballots in your pilot precincts showed that you had no vote recovery, and there was not an iota of fraud or irregularity discovered that could cast doubt on the integrity and credibility of the concluded 2016 elections. You were unable to surpass the votes credited to me, that is why you just had to resort to dilatory tactics. The Filipino people deserve to know the truth; YOU SIMPLY LOST. NO ONE CHEATED YOU.

For someone who strongly feels that he was cheated, you have a funny way of dragging your case by delaying the presentation of your evidence, and by resorting to an unnecessary decryption of ballots even if the Statement of Votes by Precinct (SOVPs), the Election Returns (ERs) and the physical count of official ballots all tally and match. You and I know that the longer you drag this baseless protest, the more expensive it is for you. Lucky for you, you have the resources to fund your protest.

This is my advice to you Mr. Tolentino, wake up and stop your imaginings. You are already popular. Surely, you do not need a Leila De Lima to boost your popularity or the people’s awareness of you. Stand or fall on your own merit. With acceptance comes healing. ###

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