Tolentino fails to secure SC TRO vs proclamation of 12 winning senators

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Tolentino fails to secure SC TRO vs proclamation of 12 winning senators 1
Senatorial candidate, former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Independent senatorial bet Francis Tolentino failed to secure any halt order from the Supreme Court (SC) to stop Thursday's proclamation of the 12 winning senators in the recently concluded May 9 polls.

The high court did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO), as prayed for by Tolentino in a 10-page petition he filed on Wednesday afternoon.

The SC is on decision-writing break and will resume sessions in June. Any TRO, however, may be issued, if warranted, by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and will be subject to the concurrence of the rest of the magistrates upon resumption of the sessions.

In his petition, Tolentino asked the high court to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from proclaiming the winners in the 10th to 12th senatorial slots. Tolentino is on 13th place with former Justice Secretary and Liberal Party candidate Leila de Lima trailing him by over one million votes.

Tolentino alleged that the elections was compromised when automated election system (AES) provider Smartmatic altered the script at the Comelec transparency server in Manila on the night of election day, sans the necessary permission and authority from Comelec en banc.

"Petitioner asks the highest court of the land to stop the [Comelec] from proclaiming the winners of the last three slots for senators in the May 9, 2016 elections on grounds that the electoral process has been compromised and that the results the proclamation of which is sought to be stopped do not reflect the true will of the electorate.

"In allowing a foreign national (Marlon Garcia, said to be the Project Manager of Smartmatic) to breach protocol and manipulate the automated election system without authority from the [Comelec] En Banc, the Comelec reneged on its constitutional duty and obligation to oversee the conduct of clean, honest and credible elections," the petition read.

Tolentino also urged the high court to order the Comelec "to open the AES to forensic audit and investigation" and ensure that adequate measures shall be put in place by the poll body
to prevent a similar incident from happening again.