"Have they forgotten that this candidate happens to be a good lawyer?"
As we enter the last 30 days of the campaign, we see a mad scramble for the Senate seats still up for grab—the last four or five slots from eighth to twelfth place. Unfortunately, some candidates or their handler who feels they are fast losing their grip on the few remaining slots are now resorting to DJs or demolition jobs. The latest victim is former presidential adviser lawyer Francis “Tol” Tolentino.
In a post which is now going viral in the social media, the Tolentino camp is being accused of handling coupons which would entitle holders to a free bag of groceries and rice.
The coupon, which bears Tolentino’s face, states that the grocery and rice-giving was to take place last Saturday, April 13 in Marilao and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan. According to eye witnesses, the coupons were being distributed by some motorcyle-riding men. The Tolentino camp fears perpetrators of this scheme might also be doing the same in other areas.
The Tolentino camp has all the reasons to be wary of this particular demolition job being waged against the former Cabinet secretary whom President Rodrigo Duterte is personally endorsing. This offense is one of the grounds for disqualification.
Unfortunately, for whoever is behind this malicious act, this won’t ever fly. Have they forgotten Tolentino is one damn good lawyer? For them to think he is that ignorant to commit such kind of violation reflects on their character—plain stupid.
“I am a lawyer and I am well aware of what forms of campaigning are forbidden by the law during the election period,” Tolentino stresses.
“And I am sure whoever is behind this black propaganda is out to stop me from serving the people. I sincerely ask the people not to believe in this information and to avoid being used by unscrupulous people,” he adds.
It is not surprising the demolition job was executed right after the results of the latest Pulse Asia was made public showing Tolentino entering the Magic 12 in tenth place.
So why pick on Tolentino? Because if you’re a staunch critic of the President, the best way to get back at him is through the candidates he is personally endorsing in the forthcoming elections. And there are three of them: former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police Chief, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Tolentino. But with Go and Dela Rosa safely tucked in fourth and eight place respectively, it would be most logical for these critics, and most probably candidates languishing outside the winning circle, to pounce on the lowest ranking president’s preferred candidate in the survey—Tolentino.
And Tolentino is quite aware of that.
In a statement, Tolentino bared he expected demolition jobs to be part of dirty side of the election campaign.
“Unfortunately, black propaganda like this is part of the election campaign. Thus, I would like to clarify there is no truth to this coupon being distributed under my name and I strongly condemn whoever is behind this dirty politicking,” Tolentino says.
“And it is for this reason we have to be critical of whatever is being offered to us. If in the campaign period alone, they could only offer us dirty tactics just to gain our votes, what more could they give us when they are already in power?” he asks. Rightly said.
While the incident is already being investigated by the police, people should be more vigilant against these illegal acts being perpetrated most probably by candidates on the verge of losing and report them immediately to the Commission on Elections.
And this applies not only to demolition jobs against senatorial candidates but for all those illegal acts being committed against all those vying for the May 13 polls.