Senate Electoral Tribunal asked to release 2016 poll recount results

February 06, 2019

SAYING the public has the right to know the truth, detained Senator Leila de Lima has asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to make public the results of the  recount of ballots questioned by defeated 2016 senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino against her.

In a five-page Urgent Motion to Release the Results of Revision and Appreciation of Ballots in the 25% Pilot Protested Precincts filed last Feb. 4, De Lima said that it is important to know the reason for Tolentino’s withdrawal of his election protest.

“In order to stop the misinformation and to finally stop Tolentino from playing the victim, De Lima invokes the plenary authority of the Honorable Tribunal as the ‘sole judge’ of electoral contests involving members of Congress, and urges the Honorable Tribunal to not simply grant Tolentino’s Motion and dismiss the entire protest but to make public the results of its initial determination of the concluded revision of pilot precincts pursuant to Rule 76 of the SET Rules of Procedure,” she wrote.

Tolentino, in his motion dated January 3, has told SET that he “voluntarily” withdrew his electoral protest against De Lima to give his “undivided attention” to campaigning for the senatorial post in the 2019 midterm elections.

He withdrew his election protest after the SET denied his Motion to Suspend Proceedings and/or Archive the Protest last November 22.

Notably, Tolentino claimed alleged fraud and irregularities as the cause of his loss in the elections after garnering 12,811,098 total votes as compared to De Lima’s total votes of 14,144,070, or a margin of 1,332,972 votes in De Lima’s favor.

“When these official results are out in the open, Tolentino can finally make peace with the fact that he was not cheated. He was defeated, and there should be no shame in that,” she added.

While De Lima believes that Tolentino has the right to withdraw his protest anytime, the former justice secretary said the false narrative peddled by Tolentino’s camp about the 2016 national elections should be corrected.

De Lima claimed that in the time that Tolentino claimed to have been cheated, she said that she has been ridiculed, shamed and dishonored while the integrity of the electoral process has been assaulted.