June 21, 2024

(Editors’ note: The 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 May 31, 2020)

The line is not mine, I borrowed it from economist John Kenneth Galbraith; the comfortable of course being the rich and powerful, but contrary to what you might be thinking, the afflicted – surprise, surprise – are not the poor.
If you take a closer look, the poor, particularly the urban kind, have their own way of making life a “bit” more comfortable – for them.

For example, they are quick to occupy property not belonging to them, a place where they can put up a shelter over their heads, if only to ward off the wrath of the elements, in a country where a horde of storms, one after the other, never fail to visit.
Claiming poverty, they refuse to vacate the land, despite a court order requiring them to do so – under pain of contempt, which they shrug and laugh off.
Makakain ba ‘yung contempt?

They fight eviction with stories or whatever they can get their hands on, and will not go away quietly into the night.
They send emissaries to City Hall or Malacañang to plead their case, while stockpiling an arsenal of rocks, dart slingshots, daggers, and even guns, ready for the long haul.
Not gainfully employed, they resort to crime for livelihood – hold-ups, snatching, if not peddling drugs.
One squatter colony even had the gall to put up a banner that said “Bakit ang Intsik, may lupa, kami wala?” as if the Chinese were the enemy. Prophetic.

The afflicted therefore are us law abiding citizens, the middle class.
But aren’t the rich also law abiding? Maybe, but as the saying goes, behind every fortune is a crime – “or a woman.”
With bleeding hearts, the rich are only too quick with their door-to-door charity – used clothes, a bagful of rice, and some canned goods, all done in front of the TV cameras.

Alas, too, the drug business and other cri-minal activities – jueteng, gambling joints, online poker, or cockfighting, are far more profitable than being gainfully employed.
When done by those sworn to serve and protect (their own interests, I wager), the income is multiplied many times over.
Like Teodoro Locsin, Sr. (yep, Teddy Boy’s dad) once wrote in an editorial “Who will police the police?”

But Galbraith is right. The only way to comfort us afflicted is to afflict the comfortable.
As you have read, except for the Villar family, all the dollar billionaries in the country are either Chinese or mestiso.
More next time.

If you watch TV all day and all night long as I do, I am sure you must have noticed the many similarities between U.S. President Donald Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte.
For one, their constituents have ambivalent feelings with respect to one or the other – admired, yet likewise despised. Both also love to project themselves as intellectuals. The two suspiciously also profess a certain concern for their country and people.
Most likely, however, Trump will be reelected, and Duterte will heed the people’s clamor to stay on.
But how can that be possible, given the barrage of criticisms against them.
In the case of Trump, his next opponent is Democratic front runner Joe Biden, quite frankly, is of quality than Trump, and both are prone to sweep their dirt under the rug.
When Biden calls Trump stupid, Trump’s reply is, “Guess who’s talking.”
And when Vice President Leni Robredo takes over from Rodrigo, it’s like jumping into the fire from the frying pan.
Naturally the women will rise as one for Leni, not because she is Joan of Arc, it’s just actually a gender thing – that any woman is better than any man.
I agree, when it comes to pulling the wool over the eyes of the unknowing, or those who do not know any better.
Incidentally, I have to hand it to my old friend, Morris. People appear to be saying the same thing of his successors.

Understanding Latin legal terms and phrases.
En pari delicto – It means both the priest and his altar boy are equally guilty of holding on to each other beneath the cloak.
Immunity from suit – If you are a lawyer with a roly-poly figure, please do not come to court wearing an Americana.
Caught en flagranti – Deny, deny, deny.
Apologies, the rains that keeps you indoors have a way of playing with your mind.
Sorry, no obits this week, even as my friends are drinking themselves to death, bored as they are staying home, missing and longing for action.

On a happy note, Atong Ang says that cockfighting (online muna) will be back in September with stag derbies.
At last, things are looking up.
Will a certain me celebrate his 80th (the Chinese say skip the nines) birthday in December?
Or will I get to see my granddaughter grow up into a fine, young lady, doing only things that make her parents proud, with boys the last thing on her mind?
Today, the women are beginning to think that men are no longer needed in their lives. Istorbo lang?
Apo, apo, says a girl to her distraught father. Bibigyan ko kayo, huwag n’yo lang ako pilitin mag-asawa.
Oo nga naman.