1Sambayan defends nominations after some picks decline

The 1Sambayan coalition on Sunday, June 13, defended its list of nominees to serve as the opposition's presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2022 elections, saying it had "no expectations of firm decisions" just yet from politicians who were named.

In a statement, 1Sambayan said it would support its nominees' decision to weigh a possible presidential or vice-presidential run for now, after some nominees turned down the coalition's nomination announced on Philippine Independence Day. 

"1Sambayan supports our nominees' desire to think, weigh, and discern if it is truly their personal mission to be in positions of power. It is not an easy decision to make. After all, true servant leadership is a challenging vocation," the group said. 

Where nominees stand

1Sambayan earlier named six nominees who would undergo its selection process to become the opposition's picks for the 2022 elections: Vice President Leni Robredo, human rights lawyer and 2019 senatorial bet Chel Diokno, Senator Grace Poe, Batangas 6th District Representative and Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and CIBAC Representative and Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva.

Of the six, only Trillanes has so far announced his presidential bid, but said he would give way if Robredo decides to run for the post.

Robredo, the leader of the Philippine opposition, earlier said she is keeping her options open – from running for president or running for Camarines Sur governor to even taking a break from politics.

Minutes after the coalition announced its list, Poe said she had no plans to run for president again in 2022, while Recto also turned down the nomination. Both lawmakers said they wanted to focus on their legislative duties now as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diokno said he was "honored" to be considered by 1Sambayan, but said he has not been aspiring to become the next president or vice president of the Philippines.

Villanueva, meanwhile, echoed Robredo and Trillanes' call for unity in a recorded message played during the 1Sambayan Independence Day program, though his son, Senator Joel Villanueva, said their family "was not interested" to mount a presidential bid.

Aside from the six nominees, Senator Nancy Binay and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno were also being considered for the list, but both wrote letters to 1Sambayan asking that their names be removed.

Criteria for nominees

On Sunday, 1Sambayan said its list of nominees had only been announced after three criteria were met:

  • the nomination was made by a "bonafide member" of the group
  • no objections were heard from nominees after initial discussion
  • "they all believe in the unity of democratic and good governance forces"

Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, 1Sambayan co-convenor, previously said "there may be additions" to their list.

The list had been the result of months-long consultations between parties and personalities who agreed on the common goal of challenging whoever President Rodrigo Duterte would be endorsing as his successor. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.