Samson Alcantara: Social justice not just slogan

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NAME THAT BET Samson Alcantara: Abolition of dynasty central to my campaign. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

If his biblical namesake used supernatural strength to combat enemies and perform heroic feats, Social Justice Society (SJS) senatorial candidate Samson Alcantara plans to rely on robust laws and legal arguments to push for socioeconomic reforms and defeat the political woes plaguing the country.

A practicing lawyer for the past 55 years, Alcantara is an advocate of social justice, particularly equitable distribution of economic and political benefits and opportunities in society. He is the founding president of SJS, a registered political party that he and colleagues set up in 2001 to pursue the ends of social justice.

Like other minor political parties and independent candidates running for the Upper House, Alcantara has made the abolition of political dynasties the centerpiece of his platform.

“The Constitution mandates equitable distribution not only of wealth but of political power. Unequal distribution of wealth will continue as long as political power is concentrated in the hands of a few,” he told the Inquirer in an interview.

Alcantara teaches law subjects at the Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU) School of Law, University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and New Era University.

In 2002, SJS pressed the House of Representatives for the adoption of a bill against political dynasties. When the bill was ignored, the group sued House leaders at the Supreme Court, which, however, ruled that it could not compel a coequal branch of government to do its job to legislate.

Alcantara scoffed at politicians who say that not all dynasties are corrupt and that everybody has the right to run for public office, whether he or she belongs to a dynasty or not.

‘No good, bad cholesterol’

“It’s not like there’s good cholesterol and there’s bad cholesterol. The Constitution clearly states that all political dynasties, whether good or bad, are prohibited, period,” he said.

A native of Bangued, Abra, Alcantara recounted how, as a young student, he was already aspiring to enter the legal profession. Back then, one of the most nationally prominent Abra residents was lawyer-turned-senator Quintin Paredes.

“I grew up in an ordinary rural family. My parents managed a rice land and a small property. My father was a friend of Don Quintin and because I was a bright student, people would always tell me I should be like Don Quintin one day. That’s why when I was young, I didn’t think of anything but to become a lawyer. And now I’m aspiring to be senator like him,” he recounted.

After graduating valedictorian at Abra High School in 1951, Alcantara went to Manila and took up law at the MLQU School of Law. He placed third and soon found a job at the Paredes, Poblador, Nazareno and Azada law firm in downtown Manila.

Paredes’ advice

Paredes was then an incumbent senator and could not practice law but he would sometimes drop by the firm to chat with employees.

“He would give us advice about how to be good lawyers. The best piece of advice he gave me, which I keep until now, is: ‘In case of doubt, observe the rule of silence.’ One shouldn’t be a talkative lawyer, especially if you, or your witness, aren’t sure of what you’re talking about,” Alcantara said.

On Feb. 23, Alcantara was invited to the unveiling of a historical marker at the ancestral house of Paredes in downtown Bangued. Alcantara also motorcaded in the capital as part of his campaign. Sunday, Feb. 24, on his way to Manila, Alcantara will stop by several towns in the Ilocos and Central Luzon regions to campaign.

Dangerous by reputation

He disputes portrayals of Abra as a “wild, wild west.”

“It’s only dangerous by reputation, but it’s not really dangerous there, although I think some people may want to live to that reputation. One political murder that takes place in the capital becomes magnified because the news is sensationalized. It doesn’t mean the entire province is a dangerous place. Abra people are peace-loving citizens,” he said.

But Alcantara also believes that the government should do more about controlling the proliferation of loose firearms not only in Abra but in all parts of the country.

“We cannot have total gun ban if we have loose firearms. If the government can’t be sure that there are no more loose firearms, then legal possession should still be allowed,” he said.

Questions ‘infomercials’

He said higher penalties should be enforced against criminals who use unregistered firearms to commit crimes and suggested that legitimate gun-owners should be subjected to periodic neuropsychiatric exams.

Alcantara, through SJS, has questioned the legality of such issues as religious leaders endorsing candidates during the campaign season, mandatory drug testing for crime suspects and public officials and simultaneous oil price hikes.

Most recently, SJS questioned the legality of the “informercials” of senatorial candidates, who were still public officials, that were aired before the start of the 2013 campaign period. He also questioned before the court the mechanics and veracity of two polling outfits that were conducting surveys of senatorial candidates.

Alcantara said he would rely on his friends and supporters who helped SJS’s causes and Abakada Guro’s party-list campaign. He said he would time his lecture tour in Visayas and Mindanao early this year so that he can also campaign. He has also tapped social media for support in his candidacy and maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

‘Biologically young’

Even at the age of 77, he said he is still strong enough to campaign and, if elected, to do legislative work.

“There are two kinds of ages—chronological and biological. You may be chronologically old but biologically young. I consider myself biologically young,” he said.

Alcantara’s wife Evelyn died of leukemia in 2011. He currently lives in Quezon City with his two sons—a musician and a creative director for an advertising agency.

If elected to the Senate, Alcantara said he would push for the adoption of more social justice laws and the fine-tuning of existing ones. He also has a platform for senior citizens.

“We should not wait for seniors to reach 100 years old and award them with cash gifts. As soon as people, especially the poor, become senior citizens, the government should start giving them free healthcare, caregiving services to make their life more comfortable,” he said.

Other platforms

Alcantara’s other platforms include quality education, increase of employment opportunities, development of social values, protection of public officers against discriminatory practices, fair and speedy administration of justice, development of natural resources, elimination of oppressive impositions and environment-related hazards and assistance to entrepreneurs.

“Social justice has largely remained a slogan, it should be put into action. Congress made social justice laws such as agrarian reform, the Labor Code, human rights, but more fine-tuning is needed. The government must take steps to protect those who have less in life. Make the weak a bit strong but don’t make the strong stronger,” he said.

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  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    “Like all bacteria, there are good and bad bacteria. In the same way, there are good political dynasties and bad political dynasties.” – Bam Aquino in DZBB’s interview of senatoriables

    “It’s not like there’s good cholesterol and there’s bad cholesterol. The Constitution clearly states that all political dynasties, whether good or bad, are prohibited, period.” – Samson Alcantara

    “Wherever you stand on the issue of political dynasty, or bacteria or cholesterol, there’s overwhelming evidence that probiotic drinks are beneficial to one’s health. Drink Yakult everyday. Everyday okay!” – Philippine Probiotics Association

  • NoWorryBHappy

    Samson Alcantara: Social justice not just slogan
    Alcantara has made the abolition of political dynasties the centerpiece of his platform.
    :
    Then you have my vote.
    The patriarchs of these political dynasties fed their dynasties with blood money.
    Money that belong to the Filipino people. And then they go to the Catholic Church
    to confess that they steal billions of pesos from government coffers out of love of their
    families: wives and mistresses who live extravagant lives and children reared as spoiled brats convinced that it is their birthright to pocket people’s taxes paid by the ordinary citizens who break their backs to earn an honest living. And then their children grow up as public servants with an aim to perpetuate themselves in power. Government THIEVES that have stunted the growth of the Filipino nation. SALOT sa lipunan ang mga political dynasties. Tumakbo sa eleksiyon para MANGURAKOT. Political dynaties must be eradicated.

    • itsumo kokomo

      Well, he will be on my number 1 list. Please help us spread his name and avoid those political dynasties which doesn’t deserved any vote. 

  • lapasan

    I only know this candidate from this article. Despite his age his credentials and qualifications are excellent. I also like his programs. Although he is not popular and moneyed as other candidates belonging to the two major parties, he is better qualified to be a senator than some candidates.

  • boybakal

    The best….Very articulate indeed.
    What he said are all about platform for good government.
    Good job Sir….my one vote will make the difference in case of tie.
    But for sure, you will win by a mile.
    Vote Samson Alcanatara for Senator.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AH7MNEFRF4G4ZQ6PA2OE4Z3BEU Verlito

    Thanks PDI for the news report. We need to hear more from the other unknown Senatorial candidates also.

  • jinx

    Why can’t he or didn’t he start his politics in Abra, so he can prove his worth? Abra is indeed the wild, wild West of Philippine politics.  If he can’t manage his own place, better stay away from the Senate which is national in scope. How many people out there criticize the system, and yet when they are in a certain post, would do exactly like those people they criticize? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/danilo.navarro.946 Danilo Navarro

      because its only his hometown  he work and lived in manila he hardly go to his hometown..and the senate has more pork barell than any branch of goverment 

  • Ian Lois

    You have my vote Mr. Alcantara Sana pag naka upo ka na sa senado tuparin mo lahat na inyong pinangako at wag making katulad sa mga trapo. Ikampanya pa kita.

  • whyinthisworld

    Not all pinoy’s senatorial line ups are, I would say qualified to be a senator, I strongly suggest to vote for Mr. Alcantara in place of those who were not qualified  and beside he is a good lawyer. We need lawyers in the senate and congress not just a mere movie actor, actress, and even known personalities.

    • anton kinuton

      Agree with you, we need lawyers in the senate not actors, not housewives. Senators can have the best lawyers in their staff but in the end, it is the senator who will stand on the floor of the senate to sponsor, defend, and debate with their fellow senators. 

  • anton kinuton

    YES to Alcantara, NO to Binay!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FSPVFVCZJZHI7KUKBNACLLBPVQ mikolin

    Prof. Samson Alcantara  is the candidate were longing for to do justice to the ordinary folks and ensure that political dynasty will be soon abolished which is anathema to a true democracy. Lets all help to do the right thing this coming election and VOTE the right candidate from the SJS party Senator Samson Alcantara as he knows surely the laws rather than those other candidates  who pretends to know something.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FXCIZ3GD4CSNVVIUIVYX6VC4KI Apolinario

    ANG DAMI NANG PAGKAKATAON NA LUMIPAS NA ELEKSYON. DAPAT MATUTUTO NA ANG MGA BOTANTE NA HUWAG IBOTO ANG MGA FAMILIANG KANDIDATONG GANID SA KAPANGYARIHAN. 

  • sam_aquino

    NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTY!!!

  • Bisdak_kaayo

    abogado pa naman.  Unconstitutional iyang sinasabi niya, e disqualify ang kandidatong may kadugo na elected official na.  

    No one should be discriminated to run for public office because of his family.

  • malek_abdul

    I believe in this guy’s advocacy. He’s on my list.

  • cute79

    Iboboto kita Mr Alcantara.Sana manalo at sana tuparin mo mga sinabi mo.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GYYFBINDMTZHM6TDHPB667452M agustin

     OK , vote for Alcantara and the other independent candidates. NO to UNA & LP.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7SFPQFWHHEAJ4IZKPD7OYJXVM Jabba

    MR. ALCANTARA, YOU HAVE MY VOTE.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7SFPQFWHHEAJ4IZKPD7OYJXVM Jabba

    INSTEAD OF VOTING FOR ENRILE’S NUMERO UNONG TUTA AT KILLER NA SI HONASAN, LET’S VOTE FOR MR. ALCANTARA.

  • yew_tan

    Ako gusto Erap, para sa mahirap. He he he. Alcantara hindi guapo, ako gusto guapo.He he he. Ako gusto sikat, Erap sikat. artista pa, mabilis siya bunot baril, tunay na lalak pamigay pa sa akin sardinas at  isang kilong bigas, alcantara walang bigay.

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