2022 Philippine Elections

1Sambayan nominees call for unity in 2022: ‘Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang’

Mara Cepeda

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1Sambayan nominees call for unity in 2022: ‘Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang’

Pictured here are former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Vice President Leni Robredo, and CIBAC Representative Eddie Villanueva.

Vice President Leni Robredo, Representative Eddie Villanueva, and ex-senator Antonio Trillanes IV back calls to unite in 2022

Half of the nominees of the 1Sambayan coalition for the next presidential polls hoped pro-demoracy groups could set aside their differences to forge a united front to defeat President Rodrigo Duterte’s chosen successor in 2022. 

This was the common call made on Saturday, June 12, by Vice President Leni Robredo, CIBAC Representative Eddie Villanueva, and former senator Antonio Trillanes IV in their brief video messages played after 1Sambayan named them among its nominees for president and VP

No video messages from the three other nominees – Senator Grace Poe, Batangas 6th District Representative Vilma Santos-Recto, and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno – were played during the virtual program, but their credentials were flashed onscreen.

For Robredo, only “bayanihan” or the cooperation of all opposition groups can lead to 1Sambayan’s success in 2022. 

1Sambayan nominees call for unity in 2022: ‘Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang’

“Nakikiisa ako sa panawagang magkaisa, sabay ng pakiusap: Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang ang mag-uusap; hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang din ang magkakaisa,” said the leader of the Philippine opposition. 

(I join the call for unity and I am also making this appeal: We should not be the only ones talking; we can’t be united if it’s the same people coming together.)

“Kung hindi tayo lilikha ng espasyo sa puso natin para sa iba, kung hindi natin kikilalanin na magkakahanay ang adhikain ng bawat Pilipino, mananatiling mailap ang mga adhikaing ito. Iisang bayan pa rin tayo. At walang ibang makalulutas ng ating mga suliranin kundi ang nagkakaisang tayo,” said the Vice President. 

(If we are not going to create spaces in our hearts for others, if we are not going to get to know the aspirations of every Filipino, then these would remain to be lofty goals. We are one country. And there’s no other person who can solve these problems but a united front.)

Robredo has yet to decide if she would gun for the presidency, but agreed that the opposition should have only one standard-bearer in 2022

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Evangelist turned legislator Villanueva echoed Robredo’s call for unity in his own message for 1Sambayan. Villanueva is the founder of the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) church.

1Sambayan nominees call for unity in 2022: ‘Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang’

“May malaking pag-asa ang bayang Pilipinas kung tayo’y magkakaisa at itataguyod natin ang pamumunong nakabatay sa integridad at moralidad, kakayahan at karanasan, wasto at may prinsipyong pamumuno sa ating Inang Bayan,” said Villanueva, who is also a deputy speaker in the House of Representatives. 

(There’s hope for the Philippines if we will be united and if we will uphold governance based on integrity and morality, competence and experience, and principled leadership for the sake of the Motherland.)

But the CIBAC congressman’s son, Senator Joel Villanueva, was not supportive of his father’s participation in 1Sambayan.

“Cant speak for my Dad, but obviously we are not interested to embark on a journey to the presidency especially after the tragedy that the family has gone through the past year,” Senator Joel told reporters.

The Villanueva family lost two members in 2020. Villanueva’s wife and Sister Adoracion “Dory” Villanueva passed away in March 2020, while his daughter and Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna died two months later.

Trillanes, meanwhile, said he and his party Magdalo were committed to participate in the opposition coalition’s quest to endorse a single slate of national candidates for 2022. 

“Ang 2022 elections ang pinakaimportanteng yugto sa kasayasayan ng ating demokrasya simula noong 1986. Dito nakasalaysay ang survival ng ating bansa, kaya napakahalaga na manalo ang pro-democracy forces. At kami ay naniniwala na ang tanging behikulo para sa tagumpay nito ay ang 1Sambayan coalition,” said Trillanes. 

(The 2022 elections is the most important chapter in the history of our democracy since 1986. The survival of our country depends on this, so it is important for pro-democracy forces to win. And we believe that the only vehicle to make this a success is the 1Sambayan coalition.)

1Sambayan nominees call for unity in 2022: ‘Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang’

Trillanes was the only 1Sambayan nominee so far who has announced his presidential bid, but he said he would give way to Robredo should she gun for the highest post in the land. 

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

“I am very honored by the nomination, although I never aspired for those positions. Right now, I am focused on my Free Legal Helpdesk, and I hope to serve our country in any way I can, especially the youth and the ordinary Filipino, who are crying out for justice, accountability, and relief from the pandemic,” said Diokno in a text message.

1Sambayan’s criteria for choosing their nominees include a clean track record, upright stand on key issues, platforms, competence, and winnability. 

1Sambayan nominees call for unity in 2022: ‘Hindi puwedeng tayo-tayo lang’

To select their final slate, convenors would conduct their own online survey, guided by the surveys of other polling groups, to gauge the winnability of the aspiring candidates. Potential bets would also be interviewed. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.