March 23, 2023

(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 July 24, 2011)

Not too long ago, in the days of yesteryears when goodness still reigned in the hearts of men, all evil-doers whose time to walk the face of the earth had ended, soon found themselves in hell, mildly surprised to see a bunch of lawyers ahead of them, with more coming in. It was said that these lawyers were part of their clients’ illegal activities, aside from resorting to every trick in the book to get them off the hook.

But this was before the Department of Highways was created by executive order, which was later merged with the Department of Public Works, and henceforth, known as DPWH, a moniker or acronym, which when pronounced, sounds like a cow being milked dry by the day and every day.
From a modest 10 percent, the SOP or kickback was later raised to a greedy 30 percent. The lucky contractor would then chop off another 30 percent for his own pocket, while 10 percent would be set aside for miscellaneous expenses – drinks, food, gifts to the missus.

In terms of figures, for a project costing P1,000,000, for example, only the measly sum of P300,000 will go to the work itself.
Other sins include a failure to fix badly-damaged roads, yet at the same time breaking up a fairly good road so money can be allocated for restoration purposes after.
In time, the engineers soon outnumbered the lawyers in Satan’s kingdom.

But when plague after plague began to spread throughout the planet – from the dreaded AIDS to lethal cancer, not to mention diabetes, lupus, hypertension, and heart disease – the doctors saw an opportunity to quickly get up in the world, performing operations more than necessary, with many making quite a bundle, since every operation signals a down payment for a brand-new car, or the beginning of a new house. Whatever happened to the Hippocratic oath?

A client would rather go to jail than raise a huge sum of money for his defense, but every patient will rob, steal, or borrow for an operation, due to a life-threatening ailment, and that he needs to go under the knife soonest – so his doctor warns him.
And so it was that the doctors quickly displaced the engineers as the devil’s favorite children, but even if you put all three professions together, they would be unable to match up to the large throng of big businessmen, politicians, and government officials in Hades, whose biggest sin is lying through their teeth – making false promises, and issuing misleading statements, if only to pull the wool over the eyes of the people.
Pity the poor presidential spokespersons, mouthing one sin after another. Well, like they say, birds of the same feather, FRY together.

“Visions or views of an old man,” I think, is the rough English translation of the title of this column, likely to get me a grade of 5 from my old Spanish teacher, Señora Arespachoga, God rest her soul. Anyway, here are a few samples.

The motorbike is supposed to be one remedy to our traffic woes, instead, they have compounded a seemingly unsolvable traffic situation.
Unmindful of their own safety, bikers cut in and out of traffic, to the consternation of motorists.
The motor bike has also been converted into a family vehicle, with the kids up front, and the driver’s wife behind him.
One false maneuver, one wrong turn, and a whole family is wiped out by a speeding truck driven by a runt who thinks he is the truck.

There is not casino in the city, but gambling is rampant, cockfights are held in nearby towns three or four times a week, mahjong and poker are played 24/7, and monte and baccarat on a 24/7, 365 days basis, including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
Jueteng? I am told that the 1 to 37 “lottery” is no longer in existence. There is now a new numbers game called the 38th parallel, but I don’t think the Koreans have anything to do with it.

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