Sara: 1Sambayan coalition authoritarian

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
Sara: 1Sambayan coalition authoritarian
Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said Duterte-Carpio would not qualify in their group, which rejects those who are identified with authoritarianism.
STAR / File

DAVAO CITY , Philippines — President Duterte’s daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio slammed as authoritarian the 1Sambayan coalition, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, for saying she does not qualify under their coalition.

Carpio said Duterte-Carpio would not qualify in their group, which rejects those who are identified with authoritarianism.

But the mayor said 1Sambayan is actually the opposite of what it is espousing.

“They claim to be a coalition of democratic forces, but they reject so many who do not agree with them,” the mayor said. “They sound authoritarian to me.”.

1Sambayan is a coalition of former government officials most of whom are critical of the Duterte administration.

Duterte-Carpio has topped almost all surveys on the possible candidates for president in the 2022 polls.

She advised 1Sambayan to call for unity instead of rejecting people if they want to succeed.

“If they want to be succesful, their call should be for unity,” she said.

Carpio also pointed out that 1Sambayan rejects those who are responsible for extrajudicial killings, or who abet extrajudicial killings and those who violate human rights.

In an interview yesterday, Carpio maintained that he is not interested in running for an elective post.

Unified opposition

Members of the Makabayan bloc yesterday rallied behind the move to come up with a united opposition slate for the May 2022 elections.

At a weekly press conference via Zoom, Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Carlos Zarate and Ferdie Gaite said their group would support the initiative of the 1Sambayan coalition.

“We welcome this initiative for a broadest gathering of democratic forces to restore good governance, respect for human rights and an end to tyranny in our country. We have common ground, which is to prevent a Duterte candidate from winning in the 2022 presidential poll,” Zarate stressed.

Gaite echoed this position and cited the significance of the 2022 polls for the nation’s democracy.

“The 2022 elections will be important for all democratic political forces, including us in the Makabayan bloc. We will be active in making sure the participation of ordinary Filipinos and marginalized sectors in the process of unifying the opposition,” he added.

Major parties  welcome

Convenors of 1Sambayan stressed that the group is not anchored on a single party, in particular the Liberal Party that is seen as the main opposition against the Duterte administration.

“We are not built on the Liberal Party. If you look at the list of convenors, the list of our members, we don’t have a party… We are built not on a singular party. We are inclusive and we invite all parties,” lawyer Howard Calleja said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News on Friday night.

“We are built on the ideals of good governance, rule of law, the respect of the Constitution and the sanctity of the Filipino people and of our country,” he added.

Calleja noted how groups coming from the different political ideologies have come together, citing party-list organizations such as Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Magdalo.

“On the middle, we are here – the civil society, church, religious groups and the academe,” he added, noting that many of them are not card-carrying members of political parties.

“We are inviting also the candidates and their parties… so we can unite under one candidate, one slate,” said Calleja.

During the launch of the coalition on Thursday, convenors said they have talked to some potential candidates for president and vice president.

Among those identified were Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Grace Poe and Nancy Binay, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

While the vetting process has just started, Carpio said certain personalities – particularly those identified with the present administration – will not be considered or will have a hard time getting the support of the coalition.

Victory realistic

According to Calleja, the group is not bothered by the defeat of the opposition slate in the 2019 midterm elections, saying they are different from the so-called “Otso Diretso” candidates of LP.

“What we are going to present to the Filipino people are not the most winnable candidates. We are not basing it on who is popular, but we are basing it on who is the most capable candidate,” he said.

“We will make the capable candidate winnable. If we are together, we can do it as one,” he added.

For 1Sambayan, uniting the so-called “democratic forces” is necessary to defeat the candidate chosen by Duterte, who it said won in 2016 because the votes were fragmented due to multiple candidates.

Asked why they decided to launch the coalition while COVID-19 cases are rising, Calleja stressed the need to immediately identify the problems faced by the country.

“We cannot wait for this inutile government to roll out more and more mistakes,” he said. “It is about time that we organize. It is about time that we have to come out in the open and say that we want a united Filipino.”

1Sambayan convenor and former education secretary Armin Luistro said that there is no better time to address the concerns of the nation than this time because people are hungry, hurting and have lost hope.

“They could look at us as the opposition. But truly, we stand on the side of the Constitution that this administration has been rejecting all along,” added Luistro.— Edu Punay, Janvic Mateo

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