April 22, 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 Jan. 31, 2010).

It is the year of the Tiger, and according to University of the Philippines History Professor Jonathan Ang, grandson of William the Great, and nephew – or is it son – of Johnson the Greater, it forebodes both good and ill.
It was in the year of the Tiger that two world wars happened, and later on, the Korean conflict.
Strangely however, wars are no longer dreaded, and although not exactly welcomed either, a suffering world is thinking that maybe another global war is just what the world needs – you know, not only to put an end to the misery of the wretched poor, but also to snuff out the caprice of the rich, enjoying too much of the good life.

War levels the playing field, and only the brave of heart is able to survive, and sometimes not even.
Wealth will not ward off a bullet, and an airplane dropping bombs does not discriminate based on social inequalities.
But wait up. A war of today will no longer need combat troops, not even tanks and cannons, just missiles swishing from one country to the other, and the winner will be as devastated as the loser.
One can only pray then that the two past world wars were mere coincidences that took place in the year of the Tiger.
After all, it is not the Tiger who triggers wars, but the greed and anger in the hearts of the ambitious.

The Tiger, given its ferocity, is deemed to be male in gender, but as any henpecked Filipino husband will tell you, the Tiger is female, as exemplified by his snarling wife who growls loudest on the 15th and 30th of every month.
I remember I only had a handful of women assistant fiscals when I was city prosecutor, and I could easily count them with the fingers of one hand.
Today, I will need all the fingers of my two hands and a few of my toes to count the current number, with the men prosecutors outnumbered nine to eight.
If you think my Math is faulty, let me tell you that some, if not most of the girl staff are also fiscals in their own right.

But more women judges and prosecutors is bad for lawyers who are engaged in backcourt practice.
Sending a bottle of Scotch whisky or any other gift might get the practitioner into hot water, and a small bottle of expensive perfume costs thrice as much as Johnny Black.
And if you invite a lady fiscal out to dinner, she could mistake your actions as coming on to her, rendering your case dead even before it hits the water.
I am not likewise saying that lady judges are brighter than the men, but all those fancy clothes and talk is not going to get you anywhere with the women magistrates, unlike in the case of the men where camaraderie and friendship are useful tools.
And the women not only rule in domestic homes, in the City Fiscal’s Office, or in the judiciary, but anywhere you go, it is mostly women running things.