High stakes in the 2022 elections
Despite serving three administrations, senior associate justice Antonio T. Carpio didn’t become chief justice. Now retired, Citizen Tony is betting the credibility he has earned by challenging China’s false claims in the West Philippine Sea. His new mission with 1Sambayan is to mobilize Filipino voters to elect a true servant leader in the May 2022 elections.
Filipinos have been overtaken by neighbors who used to revere Asia’s first democratic republic and sole Catholic nation. Until the 1970s, the Philippines was much admired, even envied, as Asia’s pacesetter. But a series of bad leaders after Ramon Magsaysay turned the “Pearl of the Orient” into the “sick man of Asia,” and COVID-19 isn’t helping the Philippine health and economy.
Thus, odds are stacked against 1Sambayan. President Duterte still enjoys popular support and his anointed successor will be hard to beat, considering the name recall, financial resources, and campaign organization needed to win—and the fact that opposition egos won’t unite, even with 1Sambayan’s best efforts.
But other factors are in play. One more pandemic surge, if met by the same incompetent response by lackeys like Duque and spokesmen like Roque, may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, galvanizing angry desertions by the public. Even the military might join in if a COVID-19 uprising brings economic meltdown, since there appears to be no Duterte strategy to restart the economy. The meteoric rise of community pantries shows that people power could erupt any time. If health and hunger keep oppressing patient Filipinos, a tipping point could be reached soon.
Also, international tensions and digital disruptions add to uncertainty. China’s moves can spark a shooting war given the animosity between Taipei and Beijing, and the competing claims over the West Philippine Sea. The US, Europe, Japan, India, and Asean are all ready to block Chinese moves that may block trade or risk an invasion of Taiwan or the Philippines. Disruptions wrought by artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies can dislocate economies and lead to desperate moves.
Mismanaged, the 2022 elections could involve Filipinos in a world war. The potential for spontaneous combustion is too great. We hope and pray that the servant leader sought by Carpio will emerge.
Jose Z. Osias, convenor, BalikProbinsiya
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