To 1Sambayan coalition: Winning 2022 polls goes beyond being anti-Duterte
Perhaps it is strategic that 1Sambayan did not brand itself as a new political party, and that it had no traditional politician as part of its conveners. Had it launched itself as a new political party, its leadership would have been scrutinized, as well as its supposed backers. It needed to set itself apart from every other political party that has mushroomed after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.
Any initial association with a former or incumbent politician who is or had been in a national position could have tainted its chances of building a broad coalition. The taint would have immediately lent partisan color to 1Sambayan, instead of allowing it to build the rainbow of political ideologies that are, foremost, against the continuation of the present dispensation and its cohorts.
That these errors were not committed was a good start. However, being anti-Duterte does not fully capture a specific political ideology and is naïve of what might come after the desired results in the 2022 elections are achieved. The coalition has a lot of work to do to ensure that its candidates have platforms that go beyond what President Duterte is not. The coalition cannot solely rely on ornate yet shallow campaign rhetoric.
The coalition would have to ensure that its candidates not only reject the authoritarian approach cloaked under the guise of a populist narrative personified by Rodrigo Duterte, but also not to repeat the mistakes that led to the popular impatience that created the clamor for a Duterte-like politician to take advantage of the void. It was precisely the old-style fashion of Philippine politics, characterized as an ensemble of a few political families exchanging positions one electoral cycle after the other, that prompted an outsider to step in and rise to the presidency. It was the impetus of a Mindanao alienated by its own country that was used to justify Mr. Duterte’s rise.Mr. Duterte presented himself as the relatable candidate, which we all know now was just a gambit that made 16 million Filipinos believe he was fit to be president.
The coalition needs to look back to before Mr. Duterte and see how previous administrations had failed to deliver, how they were perceived as too weak, too technocratic, too elitist, too embroiled in allegations of corruption and electoral fraud, or too detached from the lived realities of the most vulnerable and marginalized. For the coalition to succeed, it must consider that banking on an anti-Duterte narrative will only work in the short term.
The 1Sambayan coalition has a lot to do to put up a fight against the incumbent. The grand narratives of democracy and freedom, among the many things that this administration has sabotaged, will not hold ground if it continues to be detached from the realities that ordinary Filipinos endure. It should go down to the level where people will understand why we need a morally upright government, one that does not brazenly lie or make stupid remarks, without jeopardizing its initiatives that lead to the betterment of the ordinary lives of Filipinos.
The Duterte regime has made it possible for us to realize that the power of the ballot is both a precious right and an enormous responsibility that should not be wasted on the wrong candidate. Politics is addition, and the next elections may prove to be a zero-sum game. The broad and united coalition needs to realize this, beyond party ideologies and past political expediencies, without compromising the basic principles it has rallied behind that must go beyond being just anti-Duterte.
A compelling need exists. Now is the time to do the gargantuan task of making it work for next year and beyond.
EDWARD JOSPEH H. MAGUINDAYAO
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