They will try to replicate what civil society leaders did to oust dictator Ferdinand Marcos and unite the forces opposed to the Duterte regime.

A group of former government officials have banded together in hopes of having a single, unified slate for the 2022 elections, with candidates for president to vice- president and 12 senate bets.

Their primary purpose is to make sure that President Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential pick does not win, either by majority or plurality like what happened to Duterte in the 2016 elections.

Among the early members of the 1Sambayanan coalition are retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio, retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, and former education secretary and De La Salle University president Bro. Armin Luistro.

The group was formally launched at the Makati Sports Club last March 11. They hope to unite “the fragmented democratic forces in the country.”

Much like the “convenors group” did in 1985 when they convinced Corazon Aquino to challenge Marcos, 1Sambayanan will try to gather all anti-Duterte groups from the political, business, and social world, along with the academe to create a united front.

The first item on their agenda is a selection process for a unified slate, not just for national posts but also for local elective positions.

The group told local media that they want to avoid a repeat of the 2016 elections when there were a large number of presidential candidates. Then Davao mayor Duterte won by a plurality, with 16 million votes out of some 40 million votes casted.

The other presidential bets were Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, and the late Miriam Defensor Santiago.

1Sambayanan stated, “The Philippines in 2022 cannot risk falling under another administration similar to Duterte’s, whose failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic, along with unsound policies on major political, security and economic matters, have set the Philippines back, causing it to relapse into the ‘Sick Man of Asia.’”

The group added that “democratic forces must then rally in order to block a victory by Duterte’s (successor), whoever it will be. A brand new, competent leadership with integrity must take over when Duterte steps down next year.”