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Three nominees decline as 1Sambayan unveils president, vice president bets for 2022 elections

Opposition coalition 1Sambayan announced its nominees for president and vice president in the 2022 national elections in a webinar titled Isang Boto, 1Sambayan via Zoom and Facebook live last June 12 in commemoration of the Philippines’ 123rd Independence Day celebration. Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Grace Poe, Atty. Chel Diokno, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto were the six individuals put forward by the group.

However, as of writing, three candidates have already withdrawn their nomination from 1Sambayan. Poe said she had no plans to run for president just minutes after the announcement was made. Santos-Recto also said she had no plans for the top executive seats, wanting to instead focus on supporting the vaccination effort in her district of Lipa City. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Joel Villanueva, son of Eddie Villaneuva, stated that their family had no interest in mounting a presidential bid.

Diokno, on the other hand, confirmed that he will be running in the coming elections. The human rights lawyer has yet to verify which position he will be gunning for but has expressed his support for Robredo’s potential presidency. 

Of the three remaining candidates, only Trillanes so far has declared his interest in the presidency.

Choosing competence

Kung nagkamali man tayo noong una, dapat ngayon hindi na.

(If we made mistakes before, we should not repeat them now.)

To educate voters in choosing the right candidate, 1Sambayan convenor Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ explained the coalition’s selection process, sharing a video that highlighted their criteria, namely honesty, integrity, faith in God, great character, competence, patriotism, clean track record, and dynamic vision for the country, as well as an understanding of the economy and others, enabling them to make sound, humane decisions.

Ang hanap po talaga natin ay ‘yung magigiting na Pilipino na may tapat na pamumuno at ihahatid tayo sa maginhawang pamumuhay para sa ating bayan, lalong-lalo na sa mga mahihirap,” he emphasized.

(What we are really looking for are brave Filipinos with honest leadership—who will bring the people and the country a prosperous life, especially the poor.)

Alejo stressed that these candidates are hand-picked. “Ang tamang kandidato ay hindi lang basta hulog ng langit o hinuhugot sa isang pamilya.

(The right candidate is not some gift from heaven or someone from a certain family.)

Despite the criteria, some personalities who were up for nomination turned down 1Sambayan’s offer. Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno and Sen. Nancy Binay were also tapped to be potential candidates, but both of them declined. Binay told the coalition that she was not interested in running for the said positions, while Moreno asked for his name to be taken off the list. 

Next in line

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who now serves as Chairman of 1Sambayan, said that should the nominees push through, they will support them through campaign machinery but still acknowledge that they belong to their own political parties outside the coalition. 

Speakers had also raised concerns over how online trolls would again play a major role in swaying public opinion. Convenor Loretta Rosales stated that the upcoming elections will not be a conversation on human rights or justice but rather “a troll game.” 

“It’s gonna be who has the best number of trolls,” she said, citing a piece from The Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco. 

Andrew Masigan, economist and a guest reactor, echoed Rosales’ sentiments but noted that although the war has shifted online, trolls are “only the medium of the message.” Messaging, he argued, is more important.

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa disagreed with Masigan’s point on trolls simply being “just for hire”, saying, “It’s the technology itself that any political campaign must understand” because “online violence does not stay online.”

By Barbara Gutierrez

By Helen Saudi

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