Of 57 ‘colorful’ Senate hopefuls only 5 make cut
Of the 57 “colorful” senatorial aspirants who tried to impress the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with their antics and unusual dreams for the country in two days of hearings last week, only five made the final cut.
The five candidates will be contesting 12 Senate seats next May, along with 27 other senatorial contenders earlier approved by the Comelec, mostly from the Liberal Party-led administration coalition and the United Nationalist Alliance.
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. identified the candidates to have qualified as Ricardo Penson, Samson Alcantara and Democratic Party of the Philippines’ (DPP) Christian Señeres, Baldomero Falcone and Greco Belgica.
Penson, who describes himself in his certificate of candidacy as a social activist, is the president and chief executive officer of Ausphil Tollways Corp., proponent of the Katipunan (C-5)-La Mesa-San Jose del Monte-Norzagaray Tollway project.
Penson, who will be running as an independent, claimed to represent people clamoring for “real change.”
He said that what the country needed was not candidates with the right political connections, but candidates who can truly push for reform-driven national development initiatives.
Penson also told the hearing that he was a friend of President Aquino.
Newly accredited party
Alcantara, a professor of labor law at the University of Santo Tomas, is the national president of the Social Justice Society (SJS), a civil society group that has been pushing for the closure of the Pandacan oil depot in Manila.
Señeres, Falcone and Belgica will be running under the DPP, a newly accredited political party.
Señeres is a former party-list representative in the House of Representatives of the Buhay party-list group.
Belgica, the son of ex-convict-turned-pastor Butch Belgica, is a former Manila councilor.
“I see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to run since we just accredited them as a legitimate political party,” Brillantes said of the DPP candidates.
He said the official announcement allowing the five candidates to join the Senate contest will be made on Monday.
As for the 52 others who failed to get the Comelec’s nod, this means that they are mere nuisance candidates.
Among the unlucky but unforgettable ones were Daniel Magtira, who claimed to be the husband of Kris, the President’s sister; Norma Nueva, a 75-year-old widow who unabashedly flirted with Brillantes during the hearing and Salam Lacan Luisong Tagean, who claimed to be the “heir” of the supposed rightful owner of the Philippine archipelago.
The Comelec en banc gave them a chance to prove if they were nuisance candidates or not during a two-day hearing last week, giving each one at least 10 to 15 minutes to present their views and platforms.