From its conveners to the personalities it is vetting, 1Sambayan clearly looks like a bunch of oligarchs uniting for the immediate goal of winning in the coming elections. To get votes it will have to promise a totally different approach to issues it is accusing the current administration of bungling.
Thus, while I do not condone killings of any sort, I still have to wonder how 1Sambayan will wage a zero-casualty war against drugs. And how differently will it fight corruption, a scourge so endemic that it is callously fraying the moral fiber of Philippine society?
It will also be interesting how aggressively 1Sambayan will approach the China problem or how it will restore the freedom of the press it has accused Duterte of suppressing. Will it showcase the resurrection of ABS-CBN as the country’s prime media network?
Finally, how will 1Sambayan wage war against Covid-19, having made it a practice to throw a monkey wrench on the administration’s Covid-19 fighting machine?
1Sambayan and, for that matter, all the other factions will surely promise to do the opposite of what they criticize the administration to be doing. But what they will just as surely not do differently is staying clear of the heart of the poverty problem. Like all previous administrations none of the contending parties will promise, least of all implement, a real war against poverty.
A real war against poverty must strike at its roots. This basically means shifting from elitist to representative democracy. To enable basic sectors to be represented in government, political parties must become public institutions entitled to an operating budget from government. To guarantee majority rule, run-off elections have to be institutionalized and money taken out as prime winning factor in elections.
Only a truly representative government, not an elitist one, can find the will and motivation to wage an honest-to-goodness war against poverty.
Naturally, 1Sambayan and all other parties will do none of the above. They are running for the sole purpose of taking their turn at maintaining political and economic systems designed to operate in their favor. Their election promises, therefore, will surely be illusions contrived solely to lure people’s votes.
It is, therefore, appalling that two of 1Sambayan’s conveners are a Jesuit priest and a La Salle brother. The Church, as Pope Francis asserts, should be working to install equitable social structures that empower all sectors to attain their rights. But here is a priest, together with a brother and, I believe, some bishops who, instead of unmasking the illusions contrived by oligarchs, are helping to push the elite’s interests and not the people’s development agenda.