February 22, 2024

(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 April 26, 2009.)

We did our own personal survey, using a sampling of 100 respondents that included relatives, friends, and colleagues, if only to find out what was brewing on their minds, given the current situation of the country today, and here are some of their concerns.

Question: From the following list, who do you trust?

Politicians

Lawyers

Media

Police

Seventy percent said they don’t trust any from the list, and 30 percent refused to give any answer.

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We then altered our questions a bit, and posed the following query to the unresponsive 30 percent.

Of the four in the list, who do you trust the least?

Five percent picked the politicians, another five percent agreed that lawyers are the least trusted, and still another five percent replied that media is untrustworthy.

Fifteen percent or about half, said the police are not to be trusted, and even added the police are feared as much as criminals, if not more so.

An illustration they cited is the presence of policemen in a restaurant, making not only the owner of the establishment uneasy, but also all the other customers.

Strange, don’t you think?

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It, however, occurred to me that since time immemorial, politicians have never been trusted anyway, but voters have the luxury of replacing them every election year, only to realize that only the faces of politicians change, but not their ways.

Lawyers, meanwhile, started losing the trust of the public when their number increased multifold, and competition became cut throat, so to speak.

Moreover, some Law schools were not teaching real Ethics to their students, but in fact, via Law professors who love to brag about themselves, gave the impression that money and fame are the true marks of a successful practitioner, which alas, cannot be achieved by being completely honest.

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The jokes being circulated about lawyers and by the lawyers themselves were soon taken as realities. And owing to egocentricity, lawyers, unlike other professionals, are not a close-knit group, and except for drinking buddies, take pot shots at each other all the time.

For example, a lawyer who lives in a big house and drives around in a flashy brand new car is deemed to have acquired these possessions dishonestly, either through some shady deal, or by selling his client down the river.

Let me quickly add, however, that all these nasty talks about lawyers sometimes spring from envy, meaning hard luck, back-talking colleagues would do exactly the same thing, given the opportunity.

Other lawyers go to court not to seek justice, equity, or redress, but to place themselves or their client in a bargaining position, hoping to force the hand of the litigant to settle for a tidy sum, since a lengthy trial would prove more costly than a quick pay off.

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But everyone, including politicians and lawyers, and even the police, are scared of media.

You see, if you get media’s goat, your public image will suffer for sure.

Now unless you are murderous enough to shoot them in the head while riding a motorcycle, best to keep out of their hair.

But unlike politicians who are practically all rotten eggs, there are bad eggs and good eggs in the legal profession and in media.

Even media itself can readily identify who the bad eggs are.

In the case of lawyers, all the rest are bad eggs except himself.

Not surprisingly, media has retained a respectable status in society, which is probably why we have so many fake media personalities, particularly here in Baguio, since nearly everyone speaks and writes good English, and can pass themselves off as media, either as a tabloid reporter or what.

At least, they are able to get away with it, unlike Manila media, who embarrassingly fracture the King’s grammar at every turn.

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And what about the policemen? Right from the beginning, the rookie selection process is erratic. More often than not, it is the guys with criminal tendencies who apply to be policemen, and I wonder how they manage to escape the psychiatric examinations.

Fit a Pinoy with a uniform and give him a gun, and you have a monster in your hands.

I refuse to believe, however, that regional considerations have something to do with attitude, but the evidence seems to belie this position.

Someone even said the New People’s Army rebels are better disciplined, considering they kill only those who owe blood debts, unlike the police who think that anyone who crosses them is the enemy – and should be erased from the face of the earth.

Happily, Baguio policemen are not yet at that stage, I suppose until it is eventually recognized, God forbid.

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I hate to gloat and say I told you so, but just before the onset of summer, the weather bureau predicted a long hot summer, and based on that prediction, I predicted a wet and rainy one.

Like I always say, predictions by the weather bureau turn up wrong most of the time.

Now they are again saying that summer will be rainy after all.

Good. That means the sun will be coming back.