Tolentino leaves behind 'river of tears' with Senate win


Posted at May 23 2019 11:16 AM | Updated as of May 23 2019 12:12 PM

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MANILA -- Senator-elect Francis Tolentino said he would assume office without the bitterness from his 2016 electoral defeat.

Tolentino placed 9th with 15 million votes and is one of 5 first term senators in the 18th Congress which will open in July.

"I practically swam a river of human tears so to speak, after 2016. Na survive ko na yun (I survived that)," he told ANC's Headstart.

Tolentino ran as an independent after failing to secure a spot in the ticket of then President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, whom he served as chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

Before his second Senate bid, he served President Rodrigo Duterte as political adviser.

"Tapos na yung nakaraan. Nakaraan na yun (It's all in the past). Moving forward, I envision to play an active role as a lawyer. No bitterness, no rancor. Tapos na yun," Tolentino said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

"The endorsement of the president is really a big factor. Ang laki nun (It's a big deal)," he said.

Last April, the Senate electoral tribunal dismissed the protest filed by Tolentino against Sen. Leila de Lima, who edged him out in the 2016 vote. De Lima took the 12th and last winning slot while Tolentino placed 13th.

The tribunal also said it did not find any proof of the alleged irregularities or fraud in the 2016 elections.

De Lima, a critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics drive, was detained in Feb. 24, 2017 over allegations that she pocketed drug payoffs from convicts at the national penitentiary when she was still justice secretary, which she denied. 

Tolentino said he would be loyal to the President but "my loyalty to the president can stand side by side with my unwavering fidelity to the Constitution."