Wenceslao: Nice try

·3 min read

THERE will be no united opposition in 2022. The attempt by a group led by former Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio to do so is falling via the same reason the framers of the 1987 Constitution dismantled the old two-party system in favor of a supposedly more democratic one. Now any politician who thinks he can win the presidency will give it a try. The situation obtaining when former president Corazon Aquino led a united opposition against then dictator Ferdinand Marcos is no longer present. The group 1Sambayan will now have to win the elections on its own.

Which, of course, is a tall order, although it can be done. The disunity prevailing in both the Duterte camp and the political opposition can work in favor of 1Sambayan. Who would have thought, for example, that Vice President Leni Robredo could win in 2016, especially against the machinery and the resources of a Ferdinand Marcos Jr.?

What I am saying is that, this time around, 1Sambayan will have to rely on another type of unity, the unity of all democratic forces, which should include the Left. That is if the Left still considers itself a democratic force and not a Duterte minion like what it became in 2016. 1Sambayan can therefore still be a considerable force come 2016 notably if the forces of populism are themselves split, with Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte running.

The pendulum of public opinion is moving away from Duterterism. All wannabes, for one, know that openly favoring China would be a political suicide. The issue is not only about the West Philippine Sea but also straddles the economy. Filipino fishermen are suffering and Filipino workers are facing stiff competition in our shores from the Chinese. That Independence Day rally in front of the Chinese embassy proves how intense the issue has become.

But 1Sambayan has admittedly been weakened by the desertions. Those who have left obviously do not want their political plans to be stymied by any organizational dictate. Sen. Grace Poe seems to be not running for president while Sen. Panfilo Lacson has always been doing things on his own. Moreno is rating high in the surveys and apparently wants to exploit the opening, sort of. Pacquiao has already announced his intention to run. A Robredo-Antonio Trillanes IV tandem for 1Sambayan is not farfetched.

At least the political landscape for next year is forming fast. The final setup will soon be seen once the deadline for the filing of the certificates of candidacy nears. My hope is that a meaningful change will be ushered in next year. The change came last year in the United States with the triumph of Joe Biden. But former president Donald Trump is still very much around and Trumpism lurks. It’s time for the forces of democracy to reassert themselves forcefully.

Of course, the trolls are starting to shape the 2016 agenda. But it would be difficult for them to do what they did in 2016. Much has changed since then and with the economy in shambles because of the pandemic, a leadership change is most likely.