By Leslie Ann Aquino
Due to his senate bid in the May 2019 midterm polls, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino has filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings and/or Archive the Protest of his case against Senator Leila de Lima before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) stemming from the 2016 polls.
The former MMDA head revealed this to the media after filing his certificate of candidacy at the Comelec headquarters in Manila, Wednesday.
“Before I filed my certificate of candidacy it took me a long process to decide if I will file because it might affect the electoral protest which is still pending in the senate electoral tribunal. So we filed a motion to suspend the proceedings without necessarily admitting that De lima won in the 2016 elections,” said Tolentino, who is running under PDP Laban.
“That is what caused the delay in the filing of my COC although i am one of the administration candidates,” he added.
But Tolentino stressed that this does not mean that he is already withdrawing his election protest case.
To recall, he filed the electoral protest against de Lima, who placed 12th in the 2016 senatorial race, after he ended outside of the Magic 12 at 13th place.
“Accordingly, Protestant most respectfully moves for the suspension of the instant Protest subject to the resolution of pending motions, with pride and honor intact,” read Tolentino’s motion dated October 12.
Meanwhile, former COMELEC Chairman and poll lawyer Sixto Brillantes explained that the filing of COC by Tolentino does not automatically result to the dropping of his protest case saying only a successful candidacy would render the protest case moot and academic.
“The protest will not be dismissed just by the filing of his COC,” he said.
“By assuming another position, the protest is automatically withdrawn,” added Brillantes.