MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino through his lawyer on Monday, May 16, blocked moves by other candidates to push for the proclamation of 12 new senators soon.
Tolentino ranks 13th in a race for 12 Senate seats. (READ: Senate race: Drilon overtakes Villanueva in latest official tally)
Tolentino’s closest rival in the Senate race, 12th placer Leila de Lima, is ahead of him by around 1.29 million votes.
De Lima’s lawyer, Donna Camitan, had requested the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), to proclaim 12 new senators even without having canvassed 100% of the votes.
Camitan told the NBOC that uncanvassed votes “will no longer affect” De Lima’s lead over Tolentino.
Based on the NBOC’s canvass report past 4:40 pm on Monday, the NBOC had canvassed 121 of 164 certificates of canvass (COCs).
The counsels of senatorial candidates Joel Villanueva, Vicente Sotto III, Ralph Recto, and Francis Pangilinan joined De Lima’s lawyer in requesting the proclamation of 12 senators soon.
Tolentino’s lawyer, Wanda Talosig, however objected to the motion of De Lima’s lawyer.
‘100% transmission’ sought
Talosig told the NBOC presided over by Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, “I am requesting for a 100% transmission, your honor.”
Talosig explained that they “have yet to await” the results of overseas absentee voting, where around 400,000 overseas Filipinos voted.
She added: “We have noted certain discrepancies in the canvassing of certain provinces, your honor, which to my mind, to my computation, will still affect the ranking of the senatorial candidates, your honor, with all due respect.”
Talosig said she will file a written manifestation on this.
While now fighting over the 12th spot in the Senate race, both Tolentino and De Lima had served under the Aquino administration.
Tolentino, who once headed the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, was supposed to be part of the Liberal Party’s senatorial ticket along with De Lima.
However, he quit the LP’s Senate slate after a lewd performance at an LP event in Laguna was associated with him. The emcee said the performance was “a gift” from Tolentino.
Tolentino eventually decided to run as an independent. President-elect Rodrigo Duterte later reportedly supported Tolentino’s senatorial bid. – Rappler.com