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 July 8, 2012)

If you have never cross-examined a vital witness in a criminal proceeding, or argued a controversial case before a court of law, then you are not a lawyer in the real sense of the term, like dance instructors, who are introduced as attorneys by their elderly dancing partners, an address that is music to the ears of Law graduates who have yet to hurdle the Bar, as well as first year Law students proudly walking to their class carrying heavy law books that they keep close to their chest, and in their white shirt and necktie, love to posture themselves as attorneys (to be), as if it were only a matter of time.


To others, however, the mark of a successful lawyer is how well he is doing in life, like living luxuriously from the hefty fees that he collects from his clients, or earnings from some other sources that has nothing to do with his profession, like a realtor whose knowledge of the Law is as barren as the property he is selling.


In a country fascinated with professionals, especially lawyers, largely because they are deemed to be (quite falsely) brilliant of tongue and mind, one can easily pass himself off as an attorney by simply wearing a monkey suit or donning a barong tagalog, and for effect, lug a briefcase the contents of which may not be legal documents, but the carrier’s lunch of longanisa and boiled egg buried in the rice.
But truly if the gauge is power and wealth, then it is no surprise that lawyers shamelessly venture into politics, the shortest but no so easy route to success as defined herein (excuse the legalese).


For sometime in the past, the Pajero was the status symbol for alleged successful professionals or individuals – but no longer. Today, it is the Toyota Fortuner.
According to crime statistics, the Fortuner is a favorite target of car thieves, followed by the Montero Sport, and not too far behind, the Hyundai Tucson.


Now, since a Toyota Fortuner costs a little less than 2 million smackeroos, owning one is a sure sign of money. This is the reason why drivers of Fortuners – the ladies especially – roll down their car windows when cruising in Makati or the Greenbelt area, as if to say, “look guys, not only am I rich, I am also beautiful.” Yes ma’am, but whose mistress are you?


Oh, by the way, in the U.P. Law school, 70 percent of the students are women, the rest are men – 20 percent gay and only 10 percent straight.
And what is the significance of this? Well, it seems the women are now invading the world of the men, not just in Law school, but also at the Philippine Military Academy, and the Philippine National Police Academy, and although I have heard of women on fire, it does not refer to firewomen, as in fire station.


I have yet to see one in Baguio, but in Manila, not a few women drive jeepneys and taxicabs for a living, and according to one PAL pilot, women pilots make smooth takeoffs, but do rough landings. I suppose it is the same with them in bed. But then takeoff or landing, men on the other hand, make clumsy, selfish lovers.
There are now women kubradors, komboys, security guards, gasoline attendants, and casino dealers. And why not? After all women have three primary weapons, while the men only have two, and sadly, more often than not, coming up short, to the consternation of bed partners hankering for passion under the covers.


Lawyering is the most versatile of professions. You can leapfrog from private practice to government service when times get hard, and in the latter case, the women again have outjumped the men.
At the Baguio Justice Hall for example, there are five “macho” women RTC judges, while there are only three men RTC judges. In the municipal court, the count is even – two women, two men. In the prosecutor’s office, only five out of 18 prosecutors are men, and even the Chief Prosecutor is a woman.


Oh, speaking of women, a lady lawyer plans to seek a berth in the city council in next year’s elections, using not her married name, but her maiden one. But I understand her better half will for the nth time make another run for Congress, with likely the same results.
If she gets lucky, it will make for a livelier city council, and if I know her enough, not any of the men will be able to get a word in edgewise during discussions.