Lagman backs 1Sambayan

By Mavic Conde

ALBAY 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman welcomed the initiative of 1Sambayan, a multipartisan pro-democracy coalition built to challenge Duterte’s chosen presidential candidate in 2022.


“It is correct for the opposition groups to unify in preparation for the 2022 elections to offset and upset the Duterte forces’ superior machinery and logistics,” especially that the filing of certificates of candidacy in October is just seven months away, said Lagman in a news release.


But while it’s good that 1Sambayan is preoccupied in choosing a pair for president and vice president to represent the opposition for the 2022 elections, it will be better if it can also choose “common candidates for national and local positions,” according to Filipino political scientist from Australian National University Cleve Arguelles in an interview.


“Fewer opposition candidates mean that anti-incumbent votes can be consolidated in a single candidate,” Arguelles said in the interview.


Vice President Leni Robredo (Liberal Party) and Senator Nancy Binay (United Nationalist Alliance or UNA) are among the choices.


For Lagman, the current 1Sambayan leadership must also be able to accommodate leaders from the grassroots and broaden the coalition with the active participation of organizations from different sectors, including the marginalized and disadvantaged.


Key to this, according to Arguelles’ interview, is groundwork, coupled with messaging. “1Sambayan has to translate abstract ideas [like economic equality and upholding democracy] into messages that can easily be grasped and aim for a guttural reaction,” he said, adding, “public perception heavily hinges on how much people see themselves in a politician’s goal.”


The youth may also fill the gaps that the coalition may not be able to cover. They “might augment what the coalition (which is composed of elders) are doing. . . . Having one or two more coalitions or networks working on it will not hurt us,” said political analyst Katrina Stuart Santiago, founder of PAGASAph or the People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action.


Santiago added in her interview that considering the varied ideological positions currently present within the coalition, its member organizations must be prepared to reach a compromise.


After all, Santiago said: “A coalition built on being anti-Duterte has to go beyond being just anti-Duterte.”