2022 ELECTIONS: Progressives ask 1Sambayan to use all means to unite opposition

Progressive groups urged 1Sambayan to pursue its “original mission” to unify non-administration candidates into a single slate as a convenor announced the alliance is endorsing Vice President Leni Robredo to be its standard bearer in next year’s presidential elections.

Activist 1Sambayan member organizations said they believe the possible continuation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “incompetent and tyrannical rule” as well the return to power of the Marcos dynasty should compel the alliance to “mobilize the broadest range of forces and inspire the voters to defeat Duterte and Marcos candidates in 2022.”

The Kilusang Mayo Uno, Tanggol Magsasaka, National Union of Student of the Philippines, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Promotion of Church People’s Response, Health Alliance for Democracy and Katribu said in a statement Friday they are concerned that 1Sambayan’s role in contributing to unification will be hampered by the perception that it has sealed support for a particular candidate with its early endorsement of Robredo’s candidacy.

“In a situation that remains very fluid, all efforts at forging a single unified slate should be exhausted and all options should remain open,” the groups said.

1Sambayan convenor and former Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio announced on the first day of the week-long period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) last October 1 it is endorsing Robredo as their candidate for the presidency.

The progressive groups’ statement however suggests the decision to announce the endorsement was not unanimous among 1Sambayan members.

“We had expressed on occasion that it would be best for 1Sambayan to make a decision on the endorsement after the period of filing of certificates of candidacy. By then we would have a clearer picture of who are running. This would also allow all unification efforts, including VP Robredo’s, to proceed unhampered,” they said.

The groups said Robredo remains to be among 1Sambayan’s choices as standard bearer and they support the Vice President’s current position to remain engaged in efforts to unite various parties against Duterte and Marcos forces.

“Vice President Leni Robredo is a very competent and principled leader worthy of 1Sambayan’s support,” the activists said, urging the alliance to support her position to unite the opposition and have a better chance at defeating administration candidates.

Other 1Sambayan convenors have yet to reply to the progressive groups’ statement.

Meanwhile, only Senator Manny Pacquiao among the popular names has formally filed his COC so far while Senator Panfilo Lacson and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno have yet to file after their announcements of their respective intentions to seek the presidency.

Seven other candidates have also filed their COCs the past two days.

In a move that surprised the country, Senator Christopher Go has instead filed his COC for the vice presidency on Saturday despite the announcement of a PDP-Laban Party faction he is its presidential candidate next year.

His announced running mate President Duterte has instead announced he will retire from electoral politics.

Activists however noted that Duterte has a history of announcing his retirement, only to later use the substitution provisions of election laws for his candidacy. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)