February 1, 2023

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on Nov. 24, 2019.)

Back in the old days, when Ramon Magsaysay was president of the Philippines and Elpidio Quirino before him, life was so simple that family needs were within the grasp of the breadwinner, namely the husband, since wives were happy enough tending to the children in their growing up years.
Needs weren’t much – food on the table or three square meals a day, clothes on the back of the kids, and a roof over their heads, and believe it or not, there would still be enough for tuition by the time the young ones reach school age.


But times are always a-changing, and like they say, the only thing permanent is change.
I remember when my mom bought me a pair of Elpo sneakers. I tearfully told my mom that what I wanted was the double sole Marcelo or Oriental sneakers.
Elpo sneakers are as good as any, my mom scolded me.
Wiping tears, I pleaded with my mom to buy me too a pair of Gregg shoes, but what my mom bought was the cheaper Ang Tibay shoes.


Today, sneakers are the preferred footwear, but all cost five and even six figures depending on the brand name. Nike is number one in the market, followed by rivals Puma and Adidas, owned separately by feuding siblings, one of whom decided to strike out on his own.
That’s how Puma was born. No, not the feline, the shoes.
In the early years too, only well-to-do families had home phones, and if you needed to talk to someone residing in a different city, you had to go to the long distance office to make the call.
Today, everyone owns a phone, and he can go anywhere with it. The ring tones come in different tunes. No dialing – a finger press here and there connects you to the other end.


And there’s television, now in living color. It used to be just local shows, like Eat Bulaga, the Sunday Noontime Show, etc. Today, you get to watch the National Basketball Association live.
Robert Jaworski? He is a thing of the past.
Well, I know Steph Curry, James Harden, Lebron James, and before them, Kobe Bryant, but Jaworski?
But of course, the player with the short shorts.
Baggy shorts are what NBA and Philippine Basketball Association players wear nowadays.


Politics? Only the clean cut gets elected to public office. But not today, guys with filthy manners and even filthier tongues get to be president.
But before him – a corrupt actor (there are quite a few of them holding government positions) and after him – a sickly woman who miraculously recovered after her hospital imprisonment, a kid trying to act like an adult; and a foul-mouthed former prosecutor whom 110 million Filipinos hope to bring them to the promised land.
Will he? Can he? The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines are praying otherwise, while an ambitious woman waits by the side.
One more woman will be the end of us all.


A friend of mine got shot and killed while playing e-bingo in an exclusive casino outlet.
Guards frisk all incoming guests, with gadgets that are supposed to detect anything metal, and someone is able to bring in a gun?
Isn’t anybody safe anymore?
I am still here in Manila, attending to the case of a Manila-based friend, and a neighbor who have labor problems.
The other thing that keeps me busy is the case of a friend whose woes are not only legal but political as well.
In between, I am giving the famed Atong Ang a run for his money. My chances, slim to none. I stand a better chance taking Greta away from him. No, not Barreto, but the great Garbo.


The war against drugs is nothing but a clear case involving the law of supply and demand.
If the supply is low and the demand is high, expect more policemen driving brand new SUVs and wearing Rolex watches during Senate hearings.
Hey, not easy writing a column while playing bingo at the Resorts World.


Oh yes, I don’t think foreign visitors are aware of Atong Ang and his romantic escapades, and care not about it, but each time a pair of aces appear on the gaming table, they all chorused – Atong Ang, A.A.
To Indonesians, Nippons, Chinks, Koreans, A.A. is Atong Ang.
Luck always favors the intrepid mind.
Only a month before Christmas!

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