Retired Justice Antonio Carpio, coalition chairman, calls current government ‘incompetent,’ and bats for good governance
Makati City, Philippines — The 1Sambayan national coalition of democratic forces successfully launched on Thursday, March 18, with an urgent call for Filipinos to be more demanding of the government, and more discerning when it comes to electing government officials.
“The Filipino people deserve a better government,” said 1Sambayan Chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio.
Speaking candidly in a video shown during the event at the Makati Sports Club, Carpio said, “This government is incompetent.”
Carpio and his fellow 1Sambayan convenors said the Philippines could have fared better in the COVID-19 pandemic if the current administration had been more competent and conscientious about its handling of the crisis.
“Our economic development has been set back not only because of the pandemic but also because of the mishandling by the present administration of the response to the pandemic,” Carpio said.
“Instead of focusing on effective measures to contain the pandemic and on jumpstarting economic recovery, the present administration has wasted precious time and resources on charter change, shutting down mass media, threatening businesses with cancellation of franchises, threatening the academic freedom of universities, and terrorizing legitimate dissenters with surveillance and arrests,” the retired magistrate added.
Like Carpio, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario emphasized the urgency of restoring good governance, saying it “has never been more critical.”
“To move forward, we need to remind ourselves of the fundamental principles that hold our nation together, which are currently under attack,” said Del Rosario.
Carpio and Del Rosario pointed out the social and cultural damage the current administration has caused even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides botching its response to the public health and economic crisis, the government has also left the country’s institutions and political culture morally bankrupt.
1Sambayan’s members believe the May 9, 2022 national elections will be pivotal to the Philippines’ future. A victory for “more of the same” brand of politicians as those who comprise the incumbent administration will plunge the country into deeper crises, they said.
On the other hand, a brand new set of competent, earnest and trustworthy leaders can turn the situation around.
This kind of leadership is what 1Sambayan has resolved to usher in by uniting the country’s democratic forces to field and support a single slate of national candidates in 2022.
“Of paramount importance is the need for us to unite so that we can choose a singular presidential candidate and a singular vice presidential candidate for the next election in 2022. If we are able to do this and avoid splitting of votes, we will win,” Del Rosario said.
What Filipinos ought to do, led by the government, is to uphold the rule of law, make a strong stand for the Constitution, and restore decency in the public sphere, the diplomat said.
This would require public servants who are patriotic, with unquestionable character, demonstrated competence, and who truly love the country, he added.
“We should bring back what Filipinos are and what we are all about,” Del Rosario quipped.
“The Filipino people should reject all those identified with dictatorship and authoritarianism, reject all those responsible for or who abet extrajudicial killings and whose mantra is ‘kill, kill, kill,’ and all those who violate human rights,” said Carpio.
“The Filipino people should reject all those who plundered the government, all those who refuse to defend and protect our national territory and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.
“For these are the people who have held back the progress and development of the country. These are the people who are responsible for the misery and poverty of the Filipino people. These are the people who have robbed us of our national pride and dignity,” the 1Sambayan chairman said.
Ricardo B. Ramos