“Defenders of the Galaxy”
(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 May 6, 2018.)
Time truly flies! I had not realized, not till last week’s anniversary issue, that the Midland Courier has been around for a good 71 years, a pioneer paper that was put together by the Hamada brothers, Sinai and Oseo, two years after the war ended, in 1947, with their younger sister, Cecile Okubo, providing the so-called woman’s touch.
If I recall rightly, Ben Palispis, (before he ventured into politics) was the paper’s first publisher.
Both Sinai and Cecile wrote columns for the paper. Sinai’s “Fore and Aft” was a well-read and feared column, while Cecile’s column “In and Out of Baguio” dwelt mostly on social happenings, but later transformed into a hard-hitting column when Sinai moved on to the other world, bringing along with him his old Remington typewriter.
His son, Steve, then editor-in-chief of the Midland Courier, took over his Dad’s column, retaining its title.
Other columnists were Juan Aguas, Gabby Pawid Keith, the lawyer tandem of Romy Florendo and Carding Paraan. Others who worked for the paper in other capacities were Gem Mamuyac, Ben Rillera, Bert Floresca, Joe Florendo (?), Virgilio Bautista, and a few others whose names I can no longer recall.
Together with Steve’s Fore and Aft, was Bembo Afable’s “Rhyme and Reason.”
Pablito Sanidad and I came into the picture in the early 80s, and except for some months, courtesy of Marcos boys’ sensitivity to criticism, we have been writing for the Midland Courier from then up to the present. Thirty-eight years more or less.
To be sure, Pablito and I have had our share of flaks, coming from readers and politicians who didn’t agree with our opinions but we wrote our columns with a common mindset – to inform, enlighten, and occasionally entertain our readers, ever faithful to the paper’s motto – fair (most of the time, anyway), fearless, friendly and free.
But the question is asked – given today’s advances in technology, is print media still relevant?
Well, the Internet, for example, can only tell you that Donald Trump is the U.S. President, husband of Melanie, and father of Ivanka.
And while social media can generate effective criticism, the identities of users are other disguised, not out in the open like Monsod, David, Pascual, Pamintuan, Maceda, Jurado, and if we may add to the list, Sanidad and Carantes.
The new Midland Courier columnists are far bolder – lawyers Emong Bandonill and Ed Avila, but no more courageous than the young set of writers, whose aim is to change the world for the good of mankind.
Fake news? Picture-wise, I plead guilty. I look actually much older in person, but my Minda, God rest her soul, once said to me, keep your picture there, not only are you looking 20 years younger, it makes me feel younger too.
Libel? We eat them for breakfast.
I like to think that I am like a mom-in-law. Some love me, others do not, while the rest both love and hate me.
Like the other columnists of this paper, we are the defenders of those who cannot defend themselves.
The wonderful thing is that others are not able to defend themselves from us.