1Sambayan convenor: Bongbong candidacy will be ‘good news’ for opposition, to split admin votes

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2021 03:57 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2021 04:09 PM

MANILA – The presidential candidacy of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., should it push through, will be "good news" for the opposition, said one of the convenors of the 1Sambayan coalition.

The Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) party on Friday nominated Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as its presidential bet for the upcoming 2022 national elections.

Marcos said on the same day that while he was still seeking alliances for the 2022 elections, he was "very, very close to announcing" which national post he would seek.

“Sa akin 'yung sa pagtakbo ni Bongbong Marcos, that is, to me, good news as far as the opposition and democratic forces are concerned,” lawyer Howard Calleja told ANC’s “Dateline Philippines.”

“If you look at it, the 16 million votes of (President Rodrigo Duterte) included Bongbong Marcos votes from the north. So, sa akin, that is also an additional fragmentation of the Duterte votes,” he said.

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Calleja noted that some of Duterte’s allies in 2016 no longer seem to be standing with him.

“Si Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez at 'yung iba pa niyang grupo, umalis na rin kay President Duterte. And if Pacquiao even runs, mai-isplit din niya 'yung boto nung Mindanao," referring to Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a former Duterte ally who has declared his bid for the presidency.

(Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and other groups already left President Duterte. And if Pacquiao even runs, that will split the Mindanao vote.)

“So we look at these as former votes of President Duterte when he ran in 2016, and it shows that these votes are no longer solid for President Duterte or Sara (Duterte-Carpio) or whoever his anointed will be, because nag-fragment na sila (because they are already fragmented),” he said.

Calleja said this should further spur the opposition to unite in their bid to defeat the administration candidate in next year’s elections.

“Naghati-hati na sila and that’s why, it is more evident or more [imperative] for the opposition to unite para sa amin (for us), we are solid against whoever the candidate or candidates of the Duterte administration will be.”

1Sambayan was convened in March with the goal of seeking a single slate of national candidates in the 2022 elections to counter the Duterte administration's bets.

But Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, one of the candidates it was eyeing for the presidency, separately declared his presidential bid earlier this week.

Calleja has said the hope for a united opposition remains alive.

“Despite the announcements, or declaration of some candidates, it is very clear and even if you talk to the candidates they will even say that unity talks are still ongoing.”

“So hindi sarado ang unity talks, so hindi pwedeng sabihing nawala 'yung steam because the idea of unity is alive.”

(So the unity talks are not closed yet, it can't be said that we're losing steam because the idea of unity is alive.)

Calleja said they hope to name a pick for the presidency by September 30.

"We are targetting, hopefully by end of the month, hopefully, tentatively, we might have our declaration or endorsement for the president."