December 6, 2022

(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 March 8, 2020)

Beware the Ides of March, so warned a seeress in the glory days of the Roman Empire.
Picture Rodrigo Duterte as a modern day Julius Caesar, ruler of an archipelago of 7,000 islands – actually more, but the rest have been gobbled up by the Chinese, putting in place military installations and missile sites, not to defend our shores as the United States has vowed to do in treaties forged between our two countries, with the visiting forces agreement making our ties with the U.S. even more binding.


So, what is China up to? What else other than to expand their authority and territorial boundaries in the Asia Pacific region, which has caused quite a bit of concern with Washington and the Pentagon, heightened even more by the knee jerk decision of the Palace to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement.
Wait a minute, the Senate nervously reacts. “You can’t do that on your own,” Senate President Tito Sotto and company chime, that matter needs ratification from the Upper Chamber. That has always been the case with treaties.
Not really taken aback, Duterte retorts that we don’t need the U.S. to protect from any kind of external aggression. Our boys can do that.
The military nods in assent, despite having failed to end the decades-long insurgency problem.
But who will protect us from the Chinese?


Unlike Limahong, who only raided inland villages and pillaged in coastal towns, before sailing back to the seven seas; Premier Xi refuses to leave, and in fact expects to be invited for some more look see of the premises.
He is not even holding our islands in usufruct, which means he has physical possession, but the ownership pertains to another, namely us.
Shades of East Asia prosperity sphere, except the Japanese went to war for that.
For the Chinese, nothing so bloody, just bring dollars when you visit, Filipinos love the color of paper – green and violet, particularly.
Expect a con man to sell his own mother down the river, pero “Ibenta ang inang bayan?Unlien da Pinoy.
When we fall under a foreign power, expect a brisk sale of buri bags with holes cut out.


Environmentalist shot dead; lawyer gunned down in his own office; Kim Chiu survives assassination attempt; judge ambushed; dentist murdered.
Everyone is fair game. Too many loose firearms, too many guns for hire, too many motorbikes on the road. Philippine National Police not working enough. “Puro palabra.”


What, no more Olympics? Blame the Chinese. Face masks out of stock. Blame the Chinese. Rice stores remain closed? Blame the Chinese. Dirty cops, filthy politicians? Blame the Chinese.
If President Duterte really cares for his people, he should take steps to throw out all the Chinese. Yes, all, and let those who are truly deserving be filtered back in later.
First in line would be all my Baguio Chinese friends. Baguio Chinese all good, except for a few naughty ones who drink too much, brag too much, or are too smart for their own good.


But if Duterte is today’s Julius Caesar, who are the others in the “rise and fall of the Roman Empire?”
Brutus would of course be Antonio Trillanes, seeking not only the ouster of President Rodrigo (even his demise, perhaps) but he needs to sharpen his dagger. His attacks against DU30 are old hat. “Mapurol na.”
Marc Anthony would be Bong Go, but while they share everything in common, “not their Cleopatras,” though.
And who would Cleopatra be? Who else but the queen of the Bicol by the Nile, playing it cool, waiting for Rodrigo to self-destruct, but if he is a chip off his idol F.M., Leni Robredo will have a long wait – maybe for 20 years, or thereabouts.
Still, no discounting the Ides of March. Other March born are former congressman Nick Aliping, March 1st; debonair businessman Roy Olarte, March 3; Rene, Nick, Ray – Pisceans all, said to be vindictive and unforgiving. I don’t know about the vindictive, but my Minda (March 6) was unforgiving.
May my Minda rest in peace, and let Perpetual Light shine upon her.
Looking at our apo – she answers with giggly coo-coos when I talk to her, and keeps looking at things with eyes wide open, probably wondering about her surroundings, particularly true each time we step out to eat. She has the Baltazar smarts, that’s for sure, and hopefully, the goodness of heart of her maternal grand folks, the Santoses and San Pedros.
Get ready for a short but scorching summer.
At 78, I will be girl watching all summer long.
I will be in good company with guys my age, even older, enjoying the last days of life.