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Samson Alcantara, social justice advocate; 79

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:00 AM December 29, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–Lawyer and social justice advocate Samson Alcantara died Friday afternoon after suffering a stroke. He was 79.

Christine Sempio, Alcantara’s chief of staff, announced the lawyer’s death to the media.

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Alcantara’s remains lie at the Loyola Memorial Chapels on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. Interment is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.

The late lawyer is survived by his sons Erie, Sammy and Q-nie, and daughter-in-law Gemma.

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In an interview Monday last week, Alcantara said he was preparing for the possible motions for reconsideration that oil companies might file against the Supreme Court’s decision ordering the relocation of the Pandacan Oil Depot.

The Supreme Court last month backed the Social Justice Society suit against the depot and upheld the city ordinance ordering its relocation for being a security threat.

“I mourn his passing and thank him for showing to me to selflessly dedicate myself to pursue worthy causes by teaching us to live the principle that ‘those who have less in life shall have more in law,” Alcantara’s copetitioner in the oil depot case, lawyer Vladimir Alarique Cabigao, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Alcantara had said he was also awaiting developments in the case he filed in the high court on behalf of four losing candidates in the 2013 senatorial race, who sought to nullify the results because of alleged electronic cheating and other irregularities committed by the Commission on Elections.

Businessman Ricardo Penson, one of the petitioners in the case, paid tribute to Alcantara, who also ran unsuccessfully for senator in 2013.

“He was the reward to my running in the 2013 senatorial race, a mentor I sorely needed. For the past two years he gave me practical guidance, legal advice and moral support. He said he would always be by my side. Now more than ever, I believe you Sam,” Penson said on his Facebook account.

Alcantara had taught law at the Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU), University of the East, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and New Era University and had been a bar reviewer.

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Born in Bangued, Abra, on May 14, 1935, Alcantara graduated from the MLQU law school in 1957 and placed third in the bar exams the same year. He had worked in the law firm of Sen. Quintin Paredes, who also hailed from Abra.

In 2001, Alcantara and colleagues in the legal profession founded the Social Justice Society, which later registered as a political party. Alcantara was also the founding president and chair of the Abakada Guro party-list group.

In an interview with the Inquirer during the senatorial campaign, Alcantara said he would rely on robust laws and legal arguments to push for socioeconomic reforms and address the political woes plaguing the country.

“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.

Aside from the oil depot and 2013 election cases, Alcantara had also raised in the Supreme Court issues of national importance, such as the duty of Congress to pass a law defining and prohibiting political dynasties; legality of increases in oil prices made simultaneously by gasoline companies; separation of Church and State;

Validity of the value-added tax law; constitutionality of random drug testing by schools and employers; legality of the acts of local elective executives, such as governors and mayors, in pursuing their profession as movie stars while in office; and legality of infomercials made by senatorial candidates, who are still public officials, before the start of the campaign period.

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