July 17, 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 June 2, 2013).

Baguio is such a small place that there is no way you can avoid running or bumping into friends, foes, or other people who have an ax to grind against you.
With friends it is of course all smiles and handshakes and a lot of small conversation.
And yet the scenario is no different with even your so called enemies, but I hasten to add, not enemies as defined in the books, but politicians with whom I have had a few disagreements, which disagreements, alas, can be fatal in most other parts of the country, as in Abra, for example.

To illustrate, I bumped into reelected City Mayor Morris Domogan at The Manor during one Sunday buffet lunch, and the smiles and handshakes we exchanged were quite sincere, although at the back of his mind, he was possibly thinking of pushing me over a cliff. But I am being unfair and unkind with my thoughts.

In Baguio, people who have lived here all their lives may spit out venom against detractors, but at no instance will wish them ill, like asking that a plague befall their households, or as the joke going the rounds following one more of his uninterrupted string of political victories, bursting his stomach, a familiar and favorite line that Domogan has not said in quite a while.

For the record, let me state that Domogan is what I have always dreamt of becoming – uniting the Ibaloys in our march towards City Hall or Congress.
With the Ibaloys, you butcher a pig, offer them tempting promises, and one or two of your own closest relatives will scream – get out of there, why you, and not me, and I am ready to butcher two or more pigs. Bantiwel!

Well, at least two Ibaloys are in the city council, and if one or both would like to seek higher office in 2016, I declare my wholehearted support (if I will still be around by then) and if Joe Molintas wants to make another go against Domogan, or better yet, run for congress, I reiterate the same vow and support.

Don’t get me wrong in my early years as a lawyer, I had hoped to go to Congress at age 42, just like Nick Aliping, and it is with some envy that I see Nick where he is – where I didn’t get to and will never get to.
Think about it, Law Deans Ceasar Oracion, Rey Agranzamendez, and Ed Avila, and even the late University of Baguio Law Dean Abe Estrada will have to scramble to get to the city council alone, and Nick Aliping goes to Congress in a breeze.

Life is truly unfair.
Deans Caesar and Rey can mix it up in Congress as much as Dean Ed did when he was there, but Nick easily fits in himself in his colorful barongs that go with his mestizo looks.
Anyway, Itogon, Benguet Mayor Vic Palangdan did much better than the mangbonong who predicted I would win in my one and only try in politics. Mayor Vic prayed over me when the position of city fiscal become vacant, and his incantations were answered positively. Maybe I should ask Mayor Vic to make another pray over for me, so I can do one last service for my fellow Ibaloys.
One more feather, then I am done.