Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino to stop his delusions that he was cheated of his seat in the Senate during the national and local elections three years ago.
De Lima, a former election lawyer, maintained that Tolentino should not have withdrawn his election protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) if he is indeed very confident of his electoral victory in the last elections in May 2016.
“Stop your hallucinations. The Filipino people deserve someone way better. Someone sane. If you were so sure you won, why did you withdraw your protest? Walang dumaya sayo Mr. Tolentino. Tinalo kita,” she said.
“Kahit sinong Senador pa ang bumaba sa pwesto, hindi ka pa rin maipo-proklamang Senador ng Pilipinas. Kaya huwag mo nang pangarapin na mag-resign ako – una dahil hindi iyan mangyayari hanggang mayroong milyun-milyong Pilipinong umaasa sa serbisyo ko; pangalawa, hindi nito masosolusyunan ang pagkatalo mo,” she added.
In a recent campaign sortie of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago in Antipolo City, Tolentino reportedly bragged that “kung magbibitiw sa tungkulin si Leila de lima, pwede na ko manungkulan bukas.” He also joked that “sana mas malakas ang El Niño sa Camp Crame para mainitan.”
During his public appearances or media interviews, Tolentino would always blame massive fraud as the cause of his defeat in the May 2016 elections despite losing to De Lima with a huge margin of 1,332,972 votes.
In his motion before the SET last Jan. 3, he even “voluntarily” withdrew his electoral protest against De Lima to purportedly give his “undivided attention” in campaigning for the Senatorial post in the 2019 midterm elections.
De Lima has already asked SET to make available to the general public the results of Tolentino’s poll protest against her to prove that he was not cheated on. SET has yet to rule on her motion.
The former justice secretary said she believes that Tolentino is maliciously spreading disinformation about the 2016 elections to gain the Filipino electorate’s sympathy in hopes that they will eventually vote for him in the upcoming elections.
“Nasabi ko na ito at uulitin ko lang: Huwag mo akong gamitin kung gusto mo lang magpasikat o makuha ang simpatya ng tao. Hindi mo makukuha ang boto ng taumbayan sa pagkakalat ng maling impormasyon laban sa akin. Magpakalalaki ka!” she said.
“Ilatag mo ang plataporma mo at magpresenta ka ng solusyon sa mga maiinit na isyu tulad ng EJKS, inflation, poverty at iba pa,” she added. De Lima, who remains detained on politically-motivated trumped-up illegal drug trading charges at the PNP’s Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City, has since urged Tolentino to admit that he simply lost in the 2016 elections and was not cheated on.