1Sambayanan and Its Credibility Problem

On June 12, 2021, 1Sambayan, the opposition coalition led by former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, made public its list of possible candidates for president and vice president in next year's general elections. The list included the names of Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Grace Poe, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, CIBAC Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Atty. Chel Diokno. 1Sambayan said that the personalities who were shortlisted were "selected carefully after consultation with various groups."

Within hours after the release of 1Sambayan's list of prospective presidential and vice presidential candidates, four out six personalities mentioned immediately declined the nomination. Senator Grace Poe, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, CIBAC Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Atty. Chel Diokno all turned down 1Sambayan's nomination for reason or another. Vice President Leni Robredo seem to have implicitly accepted the nomination but she remains ambiguous, especially with rumors circulating that she may opt to run for governor of Camarines Sur instead of seeking the presidency. Only former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV made an outright acceptance of 1Sambayan's nomination.

Senators Panfilo Lacson and Nancy Binay, and Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso all indicated earlier that they do not intend to be nominated by 1Sambayan, as announced by Justice Carpio himself.

Frankly speaking, 1Sambayan, which claims to be a "broad coalition" of parties and personalities from both ends of the political spectrum, from the Far Left to the Far Right, is suffering from a severe credibility problem. Proof of this is how the personalities who were initially considered to be part of its list and those who made it into the "final" list of prospective candidates for president and vice president declined 1Sambayan's nomination without any hesitation. It is like as if they were avoiding being associated with such "broad coalition" like as if they were avoiding a contagious disease.

1Sambayan sorely lacks credibility because it has nothing new to offer to the Filipino electorate except to attack President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration. It also decided to set its sight on Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is, according to various opinion polls, is leading by a wide margin over potential rivals for the position of president. They have no political platform, no set of proposed programs and policies, and no pragmatic solutions to the nation's and the Filipinos' most pressing problems.

It seems that 1Sambayan's convenors and members still think that Filipino voters can still be easily swayed by propaganda, sweet words and promises, and bombastic speeches. That is not the anymore, as President Duterte practically changed the political landscape, and tastes and preferences of Filipino voters by putting emphasis on two things: (1) getting things done and arriving at the desired results, and (2) strong emphasis on pragmatism as the gold standard in formulating national programs and policies. They still believe that they, as members of the country's political, economic and intellectual elite, have the monopoly on setting the behavior, tastes and preferences of Filipino voters. To make matters worse, instead of trying their best of winning those who do not share their politics and opinions, they insult them, belittling their intelligence and capability to decide on their own.

The Philippines does not have a capable, competent, credible, honest and responsible political opposition. What the country has is a group of obstructionists and opportunists whose only goal is to attain and maintain national hegemony, and force regime change when the president is not one of them. 1Sambayan and the personalities and entities behind it are the unfortunate manifestation of that.


It is time for 1Sambayan and the rest of the political opposition to wake up and accept the new reality in the Philippines. It is high time for them to mature and become capable, competent, credible, honest and responsible political opposition that the country should have. Otherwise, the Filipino people would outright reject them, with them ending up being flushed down the drain akin to what happened to them in 2016 and 2019.


About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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