Ignore the surveys? 1Sambayan needs its feet back on the ground

In case of emergency, break the glass and press the lever to squeeze out a steady stream of lies to put out the fire of reality.

This must be what the convenors of 1Sambayan have on their cue card as they struggle to remain relevant in the fast approaching (yes, fast because it’s less than 10 months away) national and local elections. The period for filing of certificates of candidacy for the thousands of positions to be contested on May 9, 2022 has been set on October 1 to 9, which is just two months away. In a game of chess, this is “panic time” with 1Sambayan having less than a minute on its clock, with the Duterte administration enjoying a superior position and plenty of time left.

“Ignore the surveys,” said Renato Magtubo, one of 1Sambayan’s leaders declared on Friday, July 23.

What?

Magtubo is trying to comfort politicians 1Sambayan is trying to lure into its camp and fill up the list of candidates for president, vice president and senators. Apparently, the latest survey results published by Pulse Asia has scared off the politicians they have been trying to bring board. With Sara Duterte enjoying a formidable lead despite not showing an interest in running, any political analyst will conclude that it’s an uphill journey for the dilawan-led opposition. That Senator Ping Lacson had jumped the gun on everybody doesn’t help their cause at all.

It is an exercise in self-delusion. 1Sambayan is stuck up with Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. The body language of Robredo tells me she’s backing out of the race. Only Trillanes remains enthusiastic about being the standard bearer of 1Sambayan. Well, Trillanes is another fool believing his own “Magdalo surveys” that he claims puts him on the trajectory to victory.

1Sambayan is a sunken derelict

Senator Ping Lacson is out of the game, as far as 1Sambayan convenor Antonio Carpio announced. That’s because Lacson “excluded” himself from the nomination process. Besides, Lacson has announced he is running. That makes the point of being considered by 1Sambayan moot and academic, the retired Supreme Court justice added.

It was funny reading this on the news because 1Sambayan has ceased to be relevant long ago. Carpio is trying to make 1Sambayan look as if it could still lure more politicians to join its nomination process when it has been stuck up with just two names: Robredo and Trillanes.

Apparently, presidential probables regard 1Sambayan as a sunken derelict, rusting, and its structure more like an artificial reef in the waters of Manila Bay. With Lacson announcing his candidacy, the entire playbook of 1Sambayan is ruined. It was anchored on the premise that the opposition — the term to describe any candidate that would challenge the administration — should have only one candidate. That’s to avoid slicing the pie thinner and thinner against a formidable opponent.

1Sambayan: the newest circus in town

That the Independence Day event of 1Sambayan to launch the names of its nominees for President and Vice President was a political disaster cannot be disputed. It was so bad for a fiasco that even Rappler, the yellow-colored online news organization, couldn’t help but chastise its convenors for looking like a bunch of amateurs. Rappler was among those that had drummed up interest and attention for the June 12 event that was supposed to signal the “liberation” of our nation from a Duterte-brand governance.

Shooting itself in the foot

While Rappler heaped praise on convenors retired Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, the yellow propaganda organ grudgingly acknowledged that the event was a flop. It wrote that “1Sambayan shot itself in the foot when it nominated people who would end up denying they would run for president or vice president. Pardon us, but not even campus student council parties do that.”

For me the virtual launch on Facebook wasn’t over yet and I already made that conclusion. I described it as “a boat that capsized just moments after it left port.” I also did a vlog saying that even in campus politics, this brand of political organizing won’t tick. It was a hilarious spectacle.

Bobi Tiglao, my favorite columnist, wrote in The Manila Times: “THAT club of megalomaniacs called 1Sambayan was the town’s laughingstock last week. They used our country’s sacred Independence Day to pontificate on the kind of president and vice president they would like, based on their fictional world.” Political scientist Ramon Casiple was aghast. In a TV interview, Casiple remarked: “Bakit kayo nagtukoy ng mga pangalan?.… Kung may lumitaw na kandidato, suportahan ninyo, ang nangyari, inunahan ‘nyo.

Was there even an effort to make preliminary conversations with the potential nominees? Did 1Sambayan arrogantly presume that it was so powerful and influential that those who are nominated would feel honored and flattered to be considered? Nobody else could be blamed that it was a fiasco at the opening bell. These convenors should be so ashamed they should no longer appear or talk in public. Any chance it entertained about putting up a good fight in the 2022 elections evaporated into thin air.

Basically, the problem with the 1Sambayan is they assume too much that Filipinos are “frustrated” with the Duterte government. That idea is not founded on facts. Haven’t any of them thought of checking the poll surveys over the last five years? Their style of political battle is a classic illustration of Don Quixote trying to bring down a windmill. The first item on the agenda for them is plant their feet on the ground firmly. For as long as they delude themselves, this perception of the opposition being a bunch of fumbling novices in politics will only be etched in stone.

Back to square one

This is the problem with media hype being overdone. The public expectation was raised so high that when the floor fell, the entire 1Sambayan crashed with a thunderous thud. There can be no worse PR catastrophe than seeing four of the six nominees backing out just as soon as their names were announced. And despite all the bravado about finding fresh leaders to carry the opposition’s standard in the next elections, 1Sambayan was left with only Leni Robredo and Antonio Trillanes.

I am 99.9 percent certain that faced with this situation, Robredo will reach a decision soon: SHE WILL NOT RUN.

Only a fool will think that given the circumstances, he or she will have the slightest chance of winning. It’s not just because the Duterte administration enjoys the advantage of being the incumbent; Filipinos are simply sick and tired of the opposition.

Well, Trillanes will only be too glad to accept the nomination. It’s his for the taking. Nobody will begrudge him for it.