As the 2022 national and local elections draw near, retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday described candidates that Filipino voters must reject for the country’s recovery and survival.
“The Filipino people should reject all those identified with dictatorship and authoritarianism, reject all those responsible for or who abet extrajudicial killings and whose mantra is ‘kill, kill, kill,’ and all those who violate human rights,” Carpio said at the launching of 1Sambayan, a broad coalition of groups critical of the Duterte administration.
Carpio chairs 1Sambayan, which counts former ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert Del Rosario, former Education secretary Armin Luistro, former Commission on Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza, retired rear admiral Rommel Ong, former congressman Neri Colmenares, and former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela among its convenors.
“The Filipino people should reject all those who plundered the government, all those who refuse to defend and protect our national territory and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio added. “For these are the people who have held back the progress and development of the country. These are the people who are responsible for the misery and poverty of the Filipino people. These are the people who have robbed us of our national pride and dignity.”
1Sambayan describes itself as a “broad coalition of democratic forces representing the broad spectrum of legitimate political persuasions in the Philippines.” It hopes to usher in a competent, trustworthy administration in the May 2022 national elections by fielding a single slate of candidates for president, vice president, and 12 senators.
“Under one slate with only one standard bearer, Filipinos who love democracy and oppose authoritarian rule will become the clear majority in the elections,” the coalition said, as it emphasized the need to unite behind a solid opposition to “prevent a repeat of the scenario in 2016, when a president won by a plurality but not a majority of votes.”
“As one, the pro-democratic opposition is sure to win,” it declared.
“We have to be united because if the democratic forces will have two or more candidates for president, the anti-democratic forces could win. We believe that we have the majority, but if we are divided, we will be the minority in the election. That’s why we have to be united – it’s very important to have only one candidate so that we can win,” Carpio pointed out.
The coalition claims to have a wide support from mass-based groups and sectors espousing different ideologies such as the urban poor, indigenous peoples, students and former public servants.
“If the Philippines is to bounce back from the moral, economic, and public health crises it is grappling with today, it must install sound leadership in the May 2022 national elections,” it said in a statement.
During the coalition’s media launch, the leaders said they would choose candidates who embody integrity, competence, patriotism, and a vision for the country.
Among those the coalition is eyeing to lead the 2022 slate are Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, former senator Sonny Trillanes IV, and Sens. Nancy Binay and Grace Poe, according to Carpio.
He said 1Sambayan is prepared to accept suggestions and nominations from the public.
“The issue of 2022, when another Duterte comes into power, will be substantially affecting our survival as a nation. And because that is what is at stake, many of us are here … agree [to support] a united opposition to resoundingly defeat the forces of tyranny that has ruled this country for the last five years,” Colmenares said when asked how 1Sambayan will remain unified given their varied ideologies.
The convenors underscored the need for a unified democratic force of civil society members for the country’s “survival.”
By August or September, the coalition hopes to present to the Filipino voters a clear choice of public servants for the May 2022 national elections. Candidates have to file their certificates of candidacy in early October.
Meantime, 1Sambayan will undertake the following activities:
- an online survey to gather the people’s views of the competence of popular 2022 presidential bets from recent surveys; and,
- a screening of potential presidential, vice-presidential, and senatorial candidates through interviews.
The candidates to be included in the “united democratic slate” must pass the following criteria:
- Clean track record: The aspirant must be of good moral character and without any history of corruption or malfeasance.
- Upright stand on key issues: The aspirant must be unequivocally opposed to extrajudicial killings, kowtowing to foreign powers, violation of the separation of powers and other principles enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
- Platforms: The aspirant must have solid, well-informed platforms for addressing the country’s problems, and a clear-cut plan on their implementation.
- Winnability: The aspirant must be fully ready and willing to run for office. The aspirant must have recall among the voting population, the aptitude to campaign and engage with them, and the verve to compete with other candidates for the people’s votes.