The Tiger’s chances in the Year of the Metal Rat

On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Year of the Rat in the Chinese astrological calendar begins and, according to the 2020 horoscopes, it will be a year of new beginnings and renewals.

The Metal Rat Year is going to be a strong, prosperous, and lucky year for almost all Chinese zodiac signs. For the believers, they would have to find out for themselves which of the zodiac animals is unlucky this year.

For those born in the year of the Tiger, such as Gov. Joseph C. Cua, 2020 will bring prosperity, luck and power.

Tigers are deemed to be daring and courageous fighters, impulsive and unpredictable at times but will get any task done efficiently. “Tiger is of noble virtue and often will stand up and fight for what he thinks is right,” one Chinese zodiac website claims.

In one among probably hundreds of predictions for 2020, the Tiger’s aggressive approach sometimes works in his favor, but only under certain circumstances and will not necessarily ensure a rewarding outcome.

It said he or she might gain some satisfaction but might also lose some respect, but the more important thing is to defend one’s right.

What happened last week at the Capitol was certainly an aggressive action on the part of Gov. Cua, apparently on the advice of his new legal counsel.

Whether he lost some respect among his supporters is debatable as they know in their hearts that the case from which the one-year suspension arose was politically-motivated.

On the other hand, the sudden assumption of office was certainly not a “rewarding outcome” as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) simply stood pat on its suspension order and warned that the governor’s action was tantamount to usurpation of authority, another offense that could warrant him another suspension.

Stepping out of his Capitol office to await the arrival of the DILG order was the right move.

The statement in the vernacular that he released last weekend was most revealing:

“Dai man sa intensyon ko an banggaon an sarong leye na dai man nin rason asin basehan. Siring man, dai man sa motibasyon ko an ribungon an mga Catandunganon na maresulta man sana nin satong pagkabaranga. An nangyaring ini sinserong pagpahiling nin sarong lider na kayang ipaglaban an mga tawong nagtutubod sa saiya.”

Indeed, what he did last week not only confounded some of his supporters and disappointed hundreds of employees whose salaries were delayed but also had his political rivals shaking their heads.

But his camp certainly achieved something: to shine a new light into the controversial case against him.

His lawyer’s claim that he should not have been suspended during the campaign and that the suspension should have ended at the expiration of his term have been countered effectively by DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.

According to those close to Cua, Atty. Maria Nympha Mandagan’s position that the governor’s alleged violation is purely administrative in nature and thus not an offense punishable by suspension under Republic Act 3019 deserves a second look.

A closer reading of the Ombudsman decision, written by a special panel of seven prosecutors, shows not one mention of Republic Act 3019 or even its initials, RA 3019.

It appears only in the memorandum issued by a DILG undersecretary, who took great pains to explain that the Cua’s gross neglect led to undue injury to the government, an offense covered by RA 3019.

For now, there is nothing the duly elected governor of Catanduanes, as well as the 85,000 people who voted him into office, can do but wait for the suspension to end in three months.

His Motion for Reconsideration still pending before the Ombudsman would most likely be unacted upon until the suspension’s expiration.

Whether he and his counsel would still seek some form of justice and retribution with the Court of Appeals after April 30, 2020 remains to be seen in this year of new beginnings and renewals.

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