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Opposition group bares 6 President, VP bets [The Manila Times]

Opposition group bares 6 President, VP bets [The Manila Times]

2021-06-13 (Last Update: Sun, 13 Jun 2021) Dj Marshmallow 0 News and Reports

VICE President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo is one of six nominees of 1Sambayan for the 2022 presidential elections, the opposition coalition disclosed on Saturday.

Former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, a member of the group, made the announcement to mark the 123rd Independence Day of the Philippines.

The other nominees for president and vice president are former senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes 4th, Sen. Mary Grace Poe, Cibac party-list Rep. Eduardo "Bro. Eddie" Villanueva, Batangas Sixth District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto and lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno.

"We will keep you updated with the developments," del Rosario said, adding that there may be "additions" to the list.

Bro. Armin Luistro, former Education secretary, also part of the 1Sambayan coalition, said a small group of convenors had consulted each of the nominees, and all of them have agreed to undergo the selection process and "abide by the [final] decision."

The 1Sambayan will announce one candidate for president, one for vice president, and 12 for senators.

Among the factors to be considered in the selection process are character, track record and status on surveys, and stand on current issues, such as the government's pandemic response, tensions in the West Philippine Sea and rule of law.

Aside from these, the coalition said it would look at the "due diligence" of the nominees and their capabilities to run a national campaign.

Level playing field

The 1Sambayan statement comes as Sen. Richard Gordon underscored the need to level the playing field to present better alternatives and allow the people to make the correct choices of candidates in the forthcoming presidential elections in 2022.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Gordon mentioned that should he run, he knows the road is difficult, but it is not impossible to win if candidates are given equal opportunities to reach the people.

"It is important that we give back to our people the democracy that our forebears have fought for, a democracy where the people are given the correct choices of candidates, a democracy which allows those who have a passion to serve the people, who are most qualified and with a good track record to lead the country," Gordon said.

"Unless we level the playing field, we cannot attract thae right candidates to run for office. This deprives our people the opportunity to choose their candidates intelligently and are left without much choice and thus succumb to the fatal attraction of guns, goons and gold," he added.

Nominees react

Robredo thanked the 1Sambayan for believing that she can unite the opposition, her spokesman Barry Gutierrez said.

But for now, Gutierrez said Robredo's focus is still on helping Filipinos through the Covid-19 pandemic. He added, however, that the vice president remains supportive of the process of the opposition.

Meanwhile, Poe said she does not intend to join the presidential race.

"If that is her position, we would respect that," lawyer Howard "Howie" Calleja, one of the 1Sambayan convenors, said. "But we have to also remember that our list is for president and vice president or vice-versa."

Santos-Recto, meanwhile, thanked the coalition for considering her, but said she has no plans for 2022.

Santos-Recto said she was focused on the vaccination program in Lipa City and on her legislative duties.

Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay and Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, who were also among the initial picks of 1Sambayan, declined in a letter to the group, according to retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio is among the leaders and convenors of the 1Sambayan as well as former ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, former Commission on Audit commissioner Heide Mendoza and National Union of Peoples' Lawyers Chairman Neri Colmenares.

The coalition had said it would give "equal treatment, transparent, open and accountable selection" to its possible candidates, and that it is "very confident" it will have a "strong, solid slate" in the May 9, 2022 polls.

Trillanes, meanwhile, had declared he would seek the presidency on behalf of the opposition if the vice president would not.

To date, the 1Sambayan has more than 4 million members, including its organization and coalition partners, said Calleja. It was formed as an opposition group for the upcoming elections.

Strong political parties

Gordon said that to address the many ills of our society on a sustainable basis, the country must build strong political parties that have a clear vision or an ideology which the members can identify themselves with.

"We need such institutions that will develop and choose the rightful leaders who can present themselves to the people every election. This system provides a 'screening' process that allows only the best, the brightest and most qualified to run for office, especially for the highest office of the land, the presidency," Gordon said.

"We must hijack back our democracy and work feverishly to change the mindset of our people that they deserve much more than what they have been used to. We must level the playing field to present better alternatives," he said.

According to Gordon, instead of just fame, name recall and popularity, we must be able to show the people that there are many others who are ready to serve this country but are intimidated by the prevailing political climate.

Source: Image from PhilStar

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