MANILA — For now, it’s either Vice President Leni Robredo or former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who will be 1Sambayan’s potential presidential candidate for the 2022 polls, although the coalition is still open to Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso.
Fr. Bert Alejo, one of the 1Sambayan convenors, said Wednesday nominations were still open until the end of the month.
“Sa ngayon po, 2 po ang nominees so far sa pagka-presidente — si VP Leni at saka si former Senator Sonny Trillanes,” he said during an online forum organized by the coalition.
(For now, 2 are nominees for President -- VP Leni and also former Sen. Sonny Trillanes.)
Robredo is still taking her time to make a decision whether to run for the highest post while Trillanes has made known his intention to run if she chooses not to.
“Ang 1Sambayan po, hindi tayo isang party na may pressure sa mga kandidato. Kaya 'yung iba, naiinip sa 1Sambayan. Kami naman po, sumusunod sa dynamics ng mga kandidato. In other words, meron pong proseso ang 1Sambayan. Pero 'yung mga individuals po tulad ni VP Leni na miyembro po ng Liberal Party, posibleng may iba rin silang proseso,” Alejo explained.
(1Sambayan is not a party that is pressured by candidates. We are only following the dynamics of the candidates. We have our own process while individuals such as VP Leni, a member of the Liberal Party, also has theirs.)
Domagoso, who recently joined Aksyon Demokratiko and was elected as the party's new president, had previously said he was honored to be considered by 1Sambayan. He later begged off from the coalition's list of nominees that was announced in June.
His transfer to the party founded by the late Senator Raul Roco fanned speculations he might run for president.
Roco’s wife, Sonia, said in the same forum that further talks were needed with Moreno if his name will be re-submitted for nomination as 1Sambayan’s nominee for president in the 2022 national polls.
“When we met the other night and we elected the new officers and members, part of the report was that at first, they were part of 1Sambayan — Isko and Aksyon. But later on, they said they left and after that, I have not heard from them what the next step will be,” she said.
“So I suppose it will need another conversation, exchange of talks. As I told Pareng Bert [Alejo], we’ll keep communication lines open. But the mere fact that I’m here with you, I am Aksyon also, in a way, part of it, and I share a lot of what your plans are for the country,” she added.
Launched in March, 1Sambayan seeks to field a single slate of national candidates in the 2022 elections to counter the Duterte administration's bets.
1Sambayan convenor lawyer Howard Calleja said the coalition respects the decisions of Robredo and Domagoso to prioritize addressing COVID-19 concerns at this time.
Moreno has tested positive for the coronavirus and is on quarantine.
“Tuloy-tuloy naman ang usapan with (We are continuing talks with) Mayor Isko… Ang sabi lang niya (He only said), just give him time. In the same way that we are giving time to VP Leni to discern. Whether kasama, I’m sure we have more than enough time and space to include Mayor Isko in the same way that other individuals, other candidates may likewise be included,” Calleja said.
“We are more for inclusivity and we are for the openness to have the democratic forces. It’s not a matter of having a candidate… I think what is more important is uniting under 1 candidate, the democratic forces to have a unified candidate against the Duterte administration,” he added.
Aside from Aksyon Demokratiko being open to talks with 1Sambayan, former Senator Bam Aquino said the Liberal Party also continues to engage with 1Sambayan.
The coalition said it was not concerned that Robredo was consulting other potential candidates by meeting with Senator Panfilo Lacson, who has declared his intention to run for president, and potential presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao.
Aquino said Robredo was exerting her own effort to come up with a united front against the administration.
“Sinusubukan din niya (She's also trying) in her own capacity as a national leader to try to bring different individuals together, groups and institutions together to really put up a broader front. And I think, that is in line with the goals and the objectives of 1Sambayan. It may not be exactly the same process pero in parallel po, nangyayari po ito (but it's happening),” he said.
He added there’s nothing wrong with new political groups being formed and firming up alliances for the May 2022 polls.
"Rather than looking at it na negatively, I think we should look at it positively na slowly, people are starting to come out and create these different groups and really to engage. Karamihan po sa kanila, if not all of them, isa lang po ang hugot, pareho po ng hugot ng 1Sambayan — na gusto natin ng pagbabago sa gobyerno, gusto natin ng pagbabago sa liderato. Palagay ko, dapat ipagpugay ‘yan,” he said.
(Most of all, if not all of them, only want the same thing, the same as 1Sambayan -- we want change in government, change in leadership. I think we should honor that.)
Calleja said they would definitely announce their candidate by October 1st, the date the Comelec has set for the start of the filing of the certificates of candidacy.
He expressed confidence there was enough time for the coalition to build grassroots support, saying they now have 43 local chapters, 22 foreign chapters and 51 allied organizations, parties and coalitions.
They hope to establish 81 chapters all over the country, or 1 chapter for each province.