Andromeda’s Vortex

1SAMBAYAN: The Rise of a Strong Opposition?

By Atty. Farah G. Decano


AIMING to challenge President Duterte’s anointed national candidates in the coming 2022 elections, various groups identified with the former administration, the left and the social media savvy joined forces and hoped that they become the team strong enough to shock, unnerve and displace the presentation administration.

Can 1Sambayan pull a similar act like United Nationalists Democratic Oganization (UNIDO) of the 1980s that won the 1986 Presidential Elections by National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) count.

It was already two months before the snap elections scheduled on February 7, 1986 but the Opposition could not present a solid front against the ruling KBL’s lead banner, the incumbent President Marcos. Unification talks on December 3, 1985 between UNIDO’s lead candidate Doy Laurel and LABAN’s popular symbol, Cory Aquino, ended in a stalemate.  It took a Cardinal Sin to convince Doy Laurel to make the supreme sacrifice of giving up his presidential ambition in favor of a better chance to topple a dictatorship.   The two opposition parties announced their united ticket on December 12,1985 and made history.

Hard to duplicate a UNIDO. This is something that 1Sambayan must acknowledge if it wanted to be the strong opposition team in the coming 2022 national elections.

To clinch the highest position, 1Sambayan must study the Filipino electorate’s behavior.  Those who win the topmost positions are those with such charm and persuasion that they are perceived by the voters as the right representation of the people’s hopes, hurts, and values.  Not only that, the presidential contender must be someone that people would rally spontaneously for. In other words, a candidate for the presidency must fascinate the public’s imagination.

Among those Presidential Candidates considered by 1Samabayan for indorsement are VP Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Nancy Binay and Former Senator Sonny Trillanes.

Unless repackaged, VP Leni Robredo seems to exude the Cory Aquino vibe. This seeming likeness with President Cory may do harm more than good to her.  The Filipinos have already been wowed by the story of Cory Aquino as the suffering and meek widow of an assassinated political leader. If she has to fascinate the Filipinos, the good Vice President of the Philippines must project a different image and carve her own identity.

The Filipinos seem to love those that intrigue their imagination. President Du30 was a phenomenon because of his ability to evoke such feelings of awe. He was unmindful of the conservative norms and elitists’ judgments. He was then the epitome of ruthlessness and kindness for the sake of the oppressed. He was a brute and a gentleman that even Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s defenses collapsed during the last presidential debate held in Dagupan City.

To learn from the fiasco of Otcho Direcho group of opposition candidates is what 1Sambayan must also do.  The eight opposition candidates campaigned mostly on the basis of intellectual discussions.  The Otcho Direcho team promoted themselves through memes in social media that showed they were the thinking team.  Unfortunately, with such singular style of campaigning, they seem to have awed only the intelligentsia. They bore the Filipinos’ imagination. They failed to fascinate the rest.

1Sambayan must be aware that elections are still more than far from today. The various member groups may seem united today but this coalition will have to undergo the usual internal squabbles.  Demolition and intrigues from various sides will be launched against the alliance.  Can 1Sambayan remember to stay as one for the sake of its purpose? Unlike the UNIDO party, the coalition has more than one long year to parry the attacks of opponents.  UNIDO’s rival KBL did not have much time to strike and sow horrifying intrigues against the Cory and Doy Team.

1Sambayan must not only project ideals. It must also be shrewd enough to survive and win in Philippine Politics.

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