In the Chinese Zodiac calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, a very special year. It is said that more than 4,000 years ago, tribes in China had animal emblems. The two large tribes unified and chose the dragon as their symbol. Their descendants became the Han Chinese today.
In Chinese astrology, the dragon – which is made up of different part of animals: tiger, fish, snake, and eagle – was a revered symbol of power, superiority, and rule. It still is today. And those born in the Year of the Dragon are deemed powerful and wise. And for the leader of a country, the Year of the Dragon is an opportune time for strong leadership and bold decision-making. Would President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III – a Chinese mestizo – fit in this mold? Let’s see.
P-Noy was born on February 8, 1960 in the Year of the Rat. Chinese astrologists say that those born under the sign of the Rat are: Quick-witted, clever, charming, sharp and funny. They have excellent taste, are a good friend and are generous and loyal to others considered part of its pack. Motivated by money, can be greedy, is ever curious, seeks knowledge and welcomes challenges. They are compatible with Dragon or Monkey.
Persons born under the powerful sign of the Dragon are: Energetic and warm-hearted, charismatic, lucky at love and egotistic. They’re natural born leaders, good at giving orders and doing what’s necessary to remain on top. They are compatible with Monkey and Rat.
Would P-Noy be able to utilize the power generated by the confluence of the Rat and the Dragon?
Year of the purge
At the beginning of 2011, P-Noy’s detractors and critics called him a wimp and an indecisive leader. By the end of the year, these same people were calling him a dictator! One likened him to Fidel Castro. Another one said he was like Hitler. What went wrong? Or, should I ask, what went right? Indeed, what a difference a year – or to be more precise, seven months — made in Philippine politics. So, what did P-Noy do to drive his detractors and critics in frenzy?
First, on February 8, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes took his own life amidst the scandals that shook the military establishment.
On April 29, former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez resigned after she was impeached for betrayal of public trust by the House of Representatives and before a
Senate impeachment trial commenced.
On July 14, retired Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife Erlinda were charged with tax evasion.
On September 16, retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia was arrested and detained in the New Bilibid Prison to serve a sentence handed down in 2005 by a military court martial for violation of Articles of War 96 and 97, to wit: “Conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman for failing to disclose/declare all his existing assets in 2002 and 2003 and for holding the status of an immigrant or permanent resident of the United States thereby causing dishonor to the military profession” and “Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline for making untruthful statements under oath about his true assets in his 2002 and 2003.” Interestingly, his sentence was never carried out by the Arroyo administration.
On October 4, Congressman Mikey Arroyo and his wife were slapped with a tax evasion case.
On November 18, former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos were charged with election sabotage, a non-bailable offense. Gloria is currently under hospital arrest while Abalos is in detention at the Southern Police Department.
On December 12, the House of Representatives impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the constitution, and graft and corruption. A Senate impeachment trial is scheduled to commence on January 16, 2012.
On December 29, the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft charges against Gloria and her husband Mike Arroyo, Benjamin Abalos, and Leonardo Mendoza with the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan.
It doesn’t stop there. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is still busy investigating several plunder charges against the Arroyos and others.
P-Noy’s daunting challenges
No President before P-Noy has ever faced a multitude of daunting challenges. And the forces that are arrayed against him are superior in political power and financial means. The Arroyo-Corona axis could overwhelm him if they could see a weak point in P-Noy’s offensive.
And the Senate impeachment trial is insofar the weakest point. P-Noy doesn’t have any control over it. To convict Corona, the House prosecution panel needs to convince 16 senator-judges while Corona needs to convince only eight to acquit him.
But the immediate threat is Corona’s motion before the Senate impeachment court to dismiss the impeachment complaint. He claimed that it was invalid since the House members did not read the complaint before signing. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is presiding over the impeachment trial, said, “The trial might be prevented if the impeachment court found defective the eight Articles of Impeachment filed against Corona by the House of Representatives.” As presiding officer, Enrile has the sole authority to approve or disapprove Corona’s motion before the trial begins. As to whether he would exercise that authority solely or collectively remains to be seen. However, if Corona’s motion is approved, it could trigger political rumbles of tectonic proportion.
The second threat is the petition of four lawyers before the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the impeachment trial. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the petitions on January 17, 2012, a day after the impeachment trial begins. If the High Court decides to issue a TRO, then it would be a severe blow to P-Noy.
Anticipating the worst to happen, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace has a “Plan B” to remove Corona in case he is acquitted in his impeachment trial in the Senate. “We always have a contingency plan. But it would be better to leave it up to President Benigno Aquino III to disclose the details of the plan,” she said.
Needless to say, it sent shivers down the spine of those in the Arroyo-Corona camp. Is the field set for a battle nobody wants to happen? Or is it inevitable?
But P-Noy has already crossed his Rubicon and the die is cast – alea iacta est. There is no turning back! It’s P-Noy versus Corona. If Corona wins, Gloria walks. And if P-Noy wins, the dragon – the people, his “boss” – wins.
Indeed, 2012 could very well be the year of P-Noy’s dragon.