The 1Sambayan political opposition party led by retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio is doomed.
Its timing raises eyebrows. While the country is in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic, Carpio and his gang of bureaucratic has-beens are already eyeing the May 2022 elections.
Last Wednesday, an early evening television newscast featured a professor from the National College of Public Administration of the University of the Philippines. The professor predicted, among other things, that the 1Sambayan opposition ticket will lose in the May 2022 election because the top names in that ticket are unable to articulate what kind of government they will offer as a purported “alternative” to a new government allied with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Anointing themselves as the “political opposition” to President Duterte, the public administration expert said, is not enough for 1Sambayan candidates to win votes.
That observation is resoundingly true.
Carpio himself has styled himself as an expert on the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea. That image will not be appreciated by typical voters, especially those who can barely survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Carpio may sound important to legal minds, there are members of the learned class who view him as a powder keg which, if ignited, can trigger a war with Beijing, a war Manila cannot win.
Carpio also has serious credibility problems.
He has no respect for the constitutionally-founded principle of separation of powers as seen in the public lectures about the South China Sea controversy he delivered when he was still a justice of the Supreme Court. As a retired magistrate of the Supreme Court, he ought to know that the President is the sole architect of Philippine foreign policy.
His other credibility problem is about the many international corporate clients serviced by his law firm, arguably one of the biggest ones in Southeast Asia. Being so, the interests of Carpio’s foreign corporate clients are bound to be prioritized over and above national interests if he manages to get elected to public office.
In the interest of transparency, Carpio should disclose to the public the names of his past and present international corporate clients.
The same observation applies to retired Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, a devout minion of the Aquino family. He has numerous international corporate clients whose interests may also run afoul of the interests of the nation.
Del Rosario has to prove that he can speak Pilipino fluently. He has a lot of explaining to do about his health because when he resigned as Foreign Affairs secretary in 2010, he cited ill health. This fellow turns 82 this November.
At any rate, it is not clear if Carpio is going to run for president or for senator. Vice President Leni Robredo is a political variable who may get in the way of Carpio’s long withheld political ambitions. According to the political grapevine, Carpio does not think highly of Robredo’s knowledge of the law.
Carpio’s gang potentially includes the haughty and egotistical ex-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a military mutineer thrown in the brig for plotting the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Now out of power and in serious trouble with the law, Trillanes desperately wants to reprise his stint in the Senate when he could hire his relatives and charge his expenses to the government.
News reports in November 2016 state that Trillanes made secret trips to China when he was a senator during the administration of Aquino III. Those trips, the reports said, led to Beijing’s bold takeover of Scarborough Shoal, which is part of Philippine territory.
That alone suggests that any political alliance between Carpio and a mutineer like Trillanes will be an unholy pact, a deal between two enemies forged only out of their common dislike for President Duterte, and their mutual desire for power.
If Trillanes joins Carpio, that will be clear proof that 1Sambayan is a party composed of political opportunists and vested interest groups.
No wonder the UP expert believes that 1Sambayan will be headed for defeat in 2022.