Press Release
October 24, 2017


The claims of failed senatorial aspirant Francis Tolentino at the start of the revision proceedings in his election protest against me are intended to mislead the public.

First of all, at the outset, it must be clarified that even the official election results for the senatorial position as reported by one newspaper is wrong, when it cited 13,793,947 votes for myself, De Lima, and 12,518,891 votes for Tolentino. For the record, the correct figures are, as follows: the official COMELEC returns state a total votes cast of 14,144,070 for De Lima and 12,811,098 votes for Tolentino, or a proclamation margin of 1,332,972 votes in De Lima's favor.

Secondly, as to Tolentino's claim that the SD cards used could have been "pre-loaded" with votes, this is not relevant, much less material, to the ongoing revision proceedings, as such issue is not even covered therein. The revision proceedings pertains to his election protest, while the speculation about pre-loading of SD cards relates to his claim for the annulment of the election results - a claim which he has, in any case, miserably failed to substantiate when he did not present any evidence to prove this allegation, and which I am sure he will not be able to substantiate ever.

Thirdly, as to Tolentino's claim that several ballot boxes from Calbayog City contained ballots used during the 2013 elections, this is misleading. The ballot box itself (only one [1] ballot box, and not several) and all of its contents are election paraphernalia from the 2013 elections that were erroneously transmitted to the SET (instead of the ballot boxes used for the 2016 elections) through no fault on my end, but due to the error of the City Treasurer of Calbayog City.

The retrieval of the ballot boxes subject of the initial revision of pilot protested precincts happened during the period July 3-10, 2017. During said retrieval, the ballot boxes of Calbayog City, including the ballot box for Clustered Precinct No. 60030008, were found in the City Treasurer's Office. Noticing that the ballot box was black in color, my representative called the attention of the SET retrieval team and the City Treasurer, and said that that could pertain to the 2013 elections. The City Treasurer, however, insisted that that was the correct ballot box. On 19 October 2017, that same ballot box for Clustered Precinct No. 60030008 was brought inside the revision area. When it was opened, it was discovered that the entire contents of the box pertain to the 2013 elections. To repeat, all the documents inside pertain to the 2013 National and Local Elections. There was not a single ballot or election document pertaining to the 2016 elections. Since it was for the wrong elections, none of the contents of said ballot box has any bearing in the instant election protest.

Fourthly, Tolentino claims it to be impossible that he garnered zero votes in certain precincts since he was the "No. 1 endorsed senatorial candidate of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) while De Lima was not supported by the bloc-voting Iglesia Ni Cristo" (Tolentino's Original and Amended Protest). I beg the understanding of protestant Tolentino. I am certainly unaware that a particular religious group's endorsement entitles him to a claim of electoral victory and question the votes cast in the various clustered precincts in the provinces of Basilan, Maguindanao, and Tawi-Tawi. For the information of protestant Tolentino, he was not the only one who garnered zero votes in the clustered precincts listed in his protest. I also got zero votes in most of the clustered precincts indicated in his pilot protest.

If protestant Tolentino's logic is to be followed - that getting zero votes means that he was cheated - then, by the same logic I was also the victim of cheating in several of these precincts where both of us obtained zero votes. This demolishes Tolentino's theory that getting zero votes automatically benefitted me, since I did not get his fictional votes. In several instances, I also obtained zero votes. The simplest reasonable explanation is almost always the right one - that the voters in those precincts simply decided not to vote for either of us. That is the choice of the people. The unreasonable supposition is to automatically ascribe fraud in the way the people expressed their choice in the polls, simply because that choice did not favor one's candidacy.

Finally, in the 74 ballot boxes opened so far, Tolentino was able to recover 19 votes on physical count, while my votes even increased to 40 more votes, a net gain of 21 more votes in my favor.

Plainly, Tolentino had no reasonable recovery in all those precincts so far revised. And his party revisors have been claiming ballots categorized as ballots for others even when there is no Tolentino vote anywhere on the ballots claimed. In other words, his revisors' claims on those ballots are fictitious. This only shows the desperation that he and his revision team is experiencing right now. They have also objected to all of my valid ballots without any legal basis whatsoever.

All in all, these initial results only show that the revision is a waste of time and resources, resources that only Tolentino has. He is, after all, the political adviser to the President who has undertaken all efforts to destroy me and remove me from my office as Senator of the Republic.

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