1Sambayan bets for 2022 polls should be grounded on reality of electoral politics: analyst

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2021 10:16 AM | Updated as of Jun 13 2021 06:17 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The candidates of opposition coalition 1Sambayan for the presidency and vice presidency next year should be grounded on the reality of the country's electoral politics, an analyst said Sunday.

"Meron lang akong obserbasyon sa 1Sambayan. Kung titingnan natin, yung mga convenors, ito yung pwede nating sabihin na representante siguro ng moral polítics sa Pilipinas... Ngunit, wala (sa kanila) ang nagkaroon ng eksperyensya sa electoral politics. Wala sa kanila ang nahalal," Aries Arugay, professor at the UP Diliman Department of Political Science, told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(I have an observation on 1Sambayan. If we look at the convenors, they are what we can say as representatives of moral politics in the Philippines... But none of them have experienced electoral politics. None of them have been elected.)

"So, sa tingin ko, mahalaga na yung magiging choice nila ay maging representante ng kung anuman yung mga prinsipyo at pinaglalaban ng oposisyon. Ngunit, kailangan din ilapat sa realidad ng electoral politics ng bansa. Kasi kung hindi, hindi magiging competitive ang magiging choice nila," he added.

(So, in my view, it's important that whoever their choice will be, should represent the principles of the opposition and what it is fighting for. But, they should also ground their nominees on the realities of the country's electoral politics. If they don't, their candidates won't be much of a competition.)

1Sambayan on Saturday bared six names of its potential candidates for president and vice president in next year's elections as it hopes to unify the opposition and field a single tandem.

It named Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Grace Poe, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, CIBAC Party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno as its possible nominees for the country's top two posts. 

Former foreign affairs chief Albert del Rosario said the list would be updated.

During the coalition's presentation, the 1Sambayan convenors said they chose the nominees based on their character, personal and public integrity, competence, track record, as well as their projects and advocacies. 

Lawyer Howard Calleja, one of co-convenors, earlier said 1Sambayan also took into consideration the nominees' track record and stand on issues such as pandemic response, jobs, hunger, West Philippine Sea, and rule of law, among others.

"Sa tingin ko, masyado pang maaga para masabi yung winnability nitong mga nominado ay mataas sa susunod na eleksyon. Marami pang pwedeng magbago," Arugay said.

(I think it's too early to say if the winnability of these nominees in the next elections is high. Many things can still change.)

He noted it does not help that some candidates of 1Sambayan have immediately turned down their nomination.

Poe and Santos-Recto had turned down the coalition's nomination as they were supposedly not running for any position in next year's elections.  

"Ang importante ngayon (What's important now), if there will be an opposition candidate, there should really be a resolve to run and to campaign and to represent what is supposed sentimiyento na pinapangatawanan nitong 1Sambayan (1Sambayan's sentiment)," Arugay said.

The administration will have to defend its COVID-19 pandemic response and its stand on the West Philippine Sea among other issues, he said.

"Sa tingin ko, ang importante ngayon, given ang pandemya, given ang nangyayari sa ekonomiya natin ay mga materyal at yung issues sa sikmura."

(I think what's important now, given the pandemic, given what's happening to the economy, are issues pertaining to hunger.)

"1Sambayan should do more, above and beyond, than simply appealing to the moral sentiments ng mga botante (of votes)."

Arugay said the opposition should learn from the loss of its senatorial slate in 2019, saying its campaign should be strategic and specifically directed also to their competitors.

Troll farms will intensify and online electoral campaigning will be more effective, according to Arugay.

"Mas lalo itong mapapaigting (This will intensify), given we’re in a pandemic, given the nature of campaigning will likely change. Siguro, yung paghahawak-kamay, pagpunta, mga sorties, mababawasan 'yan definitely, at mapalitan 'yan ng online campaigning (Traditional ways of campaigning like holding each other's hands, visiting areas, doing sorties, will definitely be limited, and will be replaced with online campaigning). At sa tingin ko, magiging mas mabisa ito (I think it will be more effective) given the online presence of most Filipinos," he said of online trolls.

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In a statement, 1Sambayan said there were a lot of considerations before it came up with its list of nominees, who all have yet to decide whether they will run for office in the upcoming elections.

"There are no expectations of firm decisions to run for specific positions at this point in time. The fact is, no one—not even the administration “anointed ones” have openly declared their ambitions for Public Office, even as some have already embarked on ad campaigns," it said.

"1Sambayan supports our nominees’ desire to think, weigh and discern if it is truly their personal mission to be in positions of power. It is not an easy decision to make. After all, true servant leadership is a challenging vocation," it added.