Sammy, Greco, and Dick: Unknown bets gird for May polls

by Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2013 06:38 PM | Updated as of Feb 13 2013 05:51 AM

MANILA - Despite a lean machinery and the modest resources at their disposal, "independent" senatorial candidates are ready to mix it up with big boys of the political scene.

The relatively unknown senatorial bets are citing the strength of their respective platforms and their dedicated supporters.

First on the ballot is lawyer Samson "Sammy" Alcantara, who launched his campaign with a proclamation rally at his office building in Manila on Tuesday.

It was undeniably smaller than the rallies of the major political parties, with only a few dozen supporters in attendance.

The 77-year-old Alcantara is one of the oldest senatorial candidates running in the elections.

Law and education are his strengths, with decades of experience as a professor in several universities.

His platform revolves around his stance against political dynasties and his advocacies on educational reform and labor law.

However, Alcantara is treading unfamiliar territory in his bid to become a senator.

He believes social media will be a key battleground in this campaign, and has launched his own Facebook page and Twitter account.

"Ito kasi ang pinakamabilis na paraan at mura pa! Maraming naaabot. Isang post lang sa Facebook pwede agad kayong magpatawag ng isang gathering ng supporters," said Alacantara.

The professor may learn a thing or two from his former student Greco Belgica.

At 34, he stands at the opposite side of the spectrum as the youngest senatorial candidate.

Belgica will launch his campaign from a small office inside their home in Manila.

But the businessman and religious leader has big plans for the country through his proposed tax reforms.

"Kaya ako tumatakbo kasi kailangan natin ng pagbabago. Kung hindi tayo kikilos at mangangahas walang mangyayari, lagi nalang ganito," says Belgica.

Introducing themselves and their respective platforms to the public remains one of the biggest challenges for the less-known senatorial candidates.

Ricardo "Dick" Penson, who is also an independent senatorial candidate, is former husband of popular actress Dina Bonnevie.

But he would much rather highlight the centerpiece of his campaign: his strong stance against political dynasties.

He insists that people should vote for alternative candidates this coming election.

"I deserve it, the people deserve it, and we deserve an alternative to the leadership we've had all these years," said Penson.

These independent candidates believe they have a fair chance of becoming our next senator if they launch the perfect campaign. They say the fight is only beginning.