"Maybe the quest should be for a unifying leader instead."
1Sambayan was launched last Thursday with the express purpose, according to its convenors, of uniting the opposition behind one candidate.
They give the administration too much credit, by stating that unless the “opposition” unites behind one candidate, it cannot win against whoever the present leadership chooses as its presidential, vice-presidential and even senatorial candidates.
They advert to the 2016 elections, where a mayor from the deep South trumped the other four candidates, winning almost 40 percent of the national vote. At the time, the administration had one definite candidate, Mar Roxas, and when they failed to prevail upon Grace Poe to be his running mate, they chose Leni Robredo who eventually won by a very slim margin.
But did Grace Poe take votes away from administration candidate Mar, or from then Vice-President Jojo Binay? No one has made a publicized analysis of who took which votes from whom, and all we remember was that the mayor from deep South, with little funding and hardly any politician supporting him, trumped them all and is now PRRD.
1Sambayan also has to tell the electorate, pray tell, who are the opposition?
It listed a few names whom they have approached, but hardly anyone has confirmed that they submit themselves to the 1Sambayan vetting process to “unify” the “opposition”.
They listed Grace Poe, Isko Moreno, Nancy Binay, Antonio Trillanes and the incumbent vice-president, Leni Robredo. But aside from Trillanes, who has been vociferous against the president from Day One or even before, and Robredo, who as a Liberal, is considered patent “dilawan” by the DDS of the current government, would we rightly classify Grace, Isko and Nancy oppositionists?
Sure, Senators Poe and Binay actively participate in committee hearings where the incompetence of some in government are roasted on the Senate pits, but their legislative record shows that by and large, they have gone along with the administration and voted with it under the leadership of Senate President Tito Sotto.
As for Isko Moreno, the hyper-active mayor of the national capital, what has he opposed? Other than joking about a flood of tarpaulins amid a dearth of vaccines, he has been urging his constituents to cooperate with the national government in the fight against the pandemic. So does that make him oppositionist?
Why did 1Sambayan not include Ping Lacson, who although supportive of the current Senate leadership, has been very vocal in upbraiding the clearly incompetent DOH leadership for its lapsus mentis, and in exposing corruption in many agencies? Does that not qualify him as oppositionist?
Is it because their co-convenors from the Left, or self-proclaimed “progressive” blocs (which is granted to be the more politically correct term), dislike Lacson because he authored the Anti-Terrorism Law?
Is 1Sambayan therefore convening for the purpose of proclaiming the candidates they like, rather than the candidates the people like, or will like? Those that pass their metrics, and will parrot their advocacies to the fullest?
There is no question however that the convenors of 1Sambayan are in opposition of President Duterte and his administration, from retired SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, to retired Ombudsman and AJ Conchita Carpio-Morales (incidentally the aunt of Mayor Inday Sara’s husband, Atty. Manasses), and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, especially insofar as the issue of the West Philippine Sea is concerned.
The statements of the convenors during their launch last Thursday also clearly expressed disapproval of the present leadership’s human rights record, as well as the “incompetence” in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Such is par for the course, and surely even the president expects this of the opposition. I wonder what epithets he will rain upon them in his next television appearance.
But Mayor Inday Sara beat her father to the reaction over 1Sambayan’s “othering”, which she labelled “authoritarian.” As in imposing themselves upon the electorate.
Maybe 1Sambayan would better express their quest for the next president of the country in terms of a “unifying” leader rather than a mere oppositionist, because we submit that such is what the country needs. Someone who can heal a polarized nation amid the often hateful character of our divisiveness.
But 1Sambayan qualifies that they would also look at the prospects of winnability, based on public opinion surveys, among others. In fine, they should be looking for someone who is both agreeable and winnable even if he or she may not be the complete antithesis of PRRD.
Politics, after all, is the art of the possible. And in 2022, as in other presidential elections, there can be no substitute for victory.
Agreeability should be defined in terms of demonstrated competent leadership especially in times of crisis such as this unending pandemic, generally upright character, and the empathy that springs from compassion, someone who can put a premium at rectifying the extremely unequal distribution of the nation’s wealth.
Even the perceptibly elite convenors of 1Sambayan cannot but agree with this.