1Sambayan open to alliance with ex-DDS, says convenor

Published June 16, 2021, 9:20 AM

by Raymund Antonio

Opposition coalition 1Sambayan will be “happy to receive ex-DDS, (Diehard Duterte Supporters)” referring to the name that President Duterte’s supporters goes by, into their fold if they are ready to reject the policies of the present administration.

Bro. Armin Luistro, one of 1Sambayan convenors, said on ANC’s After the Fact on Tuesday night that the coalition “will not focus on a purist stance because we want to widen the tent and what we want is to hear all voices.”

1Sambayan convenor Bro. Armin Luistro (Photo courtesy of Melo Acuna / CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“In fact, we will be happy to receive ex-DDS for example because we feel that is part of who is the nation is all about,” he explained.

Luistro, the former Education secretary under the Aquino administration, balked at the idea of being called an opposition. He said this is only a “simplistic name tag” for the group, whose convenors are primarily critics of Duterte but whose some nominees were once linked to the administration.

“But the truth is we really come from different shades. In fact, crafting a program of government goes through a lot and long discussion and debate.”

He said that Filipinos who supported Duterte are “not necessarily anti-Filipino,” so he doesn’t want to “dismiss” them.

READ: 1Sambayan hopes ‘unity’ among nominees to beat Duterte’s bet in 2022

Luistro understands that Duterte’s supporters were “looking for and aspiring for something that’s important to them.”

As for politicians who will eventually decide to jump ship and join the opposition, the former Education secretary said there will be a “clear cut-off.”

“Are you ready to say now before the campaign starts that we don’t want a continuation of the current programs of this administration? To me, that would be my threshold,” he added, stressing that the issues of the pandemic response, extrajudicial killings, the case before the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) are all important for Filipinos.

Luistro said the coalition will need to be discerning with some supporters “because for some of them, there is an element of fear, pressure, and that makes a very big difference.”

The group will also reject politicians from the administration who “benefited and became rich” because that is “definitely corruption.”

Political experts said that 1Sambayan should not be purist, elitist, and classist in their process to come up with a list of candidates to go against the President’s bets for next year’s polls.

READ: 1Sambayan dismisses ‘yellow’ tag: ‘We are a broad coalition’

Luistro maintained that they want to “open up our conversations” and “depart” from the thinking that the nation is divided between DDS and Dilawan (yellow), a term used to describe the president’s critics.

“Pwede naman war on drugs pero walang patayan. Pwede naman atin ang West Philippine Sea, hindi naman kailangang digmaan (There can be a war on drugs without the killings. We can fight for the West Philippine Sea without the need for war). So, there are many options. There is not just one way of running the government,” he said.