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For the Philippine municipality, see Enrile, Cagayanmarker.


Juan Ponce Enrile (born February 14, 1924) is a political figure in the Philippines. Originally a protege of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos he later became one of the leaders (along with then General Fidel V. Ramos) in the 1986 People Power Movement that drove President Ferdinand Marcos from power. Enrile has been the President of the Senate of the Philippines since November 2008.

Early life and career

Ponce Enrile was born as Juanito Furuganan in Gonzagamarker, Cagayanmarker to Petra Furuganan, the daughter of a poor fisherman. He was born out of wedlock--his father was the already married powerful regional politician and renowned lawyer Alfonso Ponce Enrile. He was reunited with his father by the time he reached his high school years.

He graduated cum laude in 1949 with an Associate of Arts degree at the Ateneo de Manila Universitymarker. He then attained a Bachelor of Laws degree and graduated cum laude at the University of the Philippines College of Law. Upon graduation, he was elected to the prestigious Pi Gamma Mu and Phi Kappa Phi international honor societies. He achieved the 11th highest score with a 91.72% rating and a perfect score in Taxation Law in the 1953 bar examinations. As a scholar at the Harvard Law Schoolmarker he earned a Master of Laws degree with specialized training in International Tax Law.

He taught law at the Far Eastern University and practiced as a partner in his father’s law firm before taking responsibility for then-senator Marcos’s personal legal affairs in 1964. After Marcos was elected president in 1965, Ponce Enrile became part of his inner circle.

Marcos' inner circle

From 1966 to 1968, he was the Undersecretary and sometime Acting Secretary of the Department of Finance. He concurrently became acting Insurance Commissioner and Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs. From 1968 to 1970, he became Secretary of the Department of Justice. In 1970, he was appointed Secretary of the Department of National Defense.

One of Marcos' reasons for the declaration of martial law in 1972 was terrorism. He cited the alleged bombing attack of Secretary Ponce Enrile's car on September 21, 1972.

In 1973, under the new modified parliamentary system then in place under the country's new Constitution, Ponce Enrile's title became Defense Minister. As Defense Minister, he presided over the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, making him one of the prime architects of Marcos' martial rule.

As a requirement for his position as part of the cabinet under the parliamentary system, he ran and won as Assemblyman and represented Cagayan Valley for the Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978.

People Power 'hero'

After opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated in 1983, Ponce Enrile became fearful for his safety. As the Marcos dictatorship became increasingly unpopular, he began aligning himself with dissident elements in the army, particularly the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). Officers from this group, with Ponce Enrile' support, moved to launch a coup d’état against Marcos in February 1986. Marcos was alerted to the plot, and the conspirators took refuge in two military camps. From there, Ponce Enrile and Fidel Ramos, the head of the Philippine Constabulary (now the Philippine National Police), rallied opponents against Marcos in a citizen revolt that became known as the People Power Movement.

At the same time, Ponce Enrile revealed details of the public deception he had perpetuated while serving in Marcos’s government. This included being aware of fraudulent votes in the 1986 presidential election and faking an assassination attempt on his own life in 1972, which helped provide Marcos with the justification for declaring martial law.

Juan Ponce Enrile thereafter emerged as one of the perceived 'heroes' of the People Power Movement, although the reasons for his involvement with the movement were highly disputed. In the post-martial law era, rumors spread that Ramos and Ponce Enrile were among the two think tanks in the assassination of "Ninoy" Aquino. It is alleged that in order not to be accused with the Marcoses, the two plotted a coup against the president.

Conflicts with Aquino

He served as secretary of national defense under Corazon Aquino, who replaced Marcos as president, but Ponce Enrile increasingly differed with Aquino, specifically, on the administration's treatment of insurgent leftist opposition. As a result of their differences, he was forced to resign as defense secretary in November 1986. In May 1987 he won election as one of two opposition members of the country’s 24-member Senate (the other was Joseph Estrada). In August 1987, a coup against Aquino escalated and led to the destruction of the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon Citymarker. He was detained in house-type quarters in Camp Aguinaldo over suspicion of planning the coup with Gregorio Honasan. He was released days after for lack of evidence.

Election bid

In 1992, Ponce Enrile predicted that he might lose the senatorial election or win but only serve three years in office. Under the transitory provisions of the 1987 Constitution, the first 12 candidates who receive the highest votes win a 6 year term, the next 12 would only serve 3 years. He ran instead as congressman. He was elected and represented the First District of Cagayanmarker. In 1995, he ran as an independent for the second time as senator under the Lakas-Laban coalition. He won and held the position until 2001. While active as senator, he ran as an independent in the 1998 elections for the position of President. He lost however to Vice President Joseph Estrada.

EDSA II

In January 13, 2001 he was one who voted against the opening of the second bank envelope. That vote led to the second EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted President Joseph Estrada. In May 2001 he was indicted by the military for the investigation of the unsuccessful siege of the Malacañang Palacemarker by pro-Estrada forces. He was released a day after. He ran for reelection as part of the Puwersa ng Masa coalition. Due to the issues that haunted him during the failed siege, he lost the election.

2004 elections

In the 2004 elections, he made a comeback bid for the Senate under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP). He actively opposed the imposition of the Purchased Power Adjustment (PPA) on the consumer's electric bills. Due to his exposé on the PPA and the Supreme Court decision in favour of a refund on electric bills, the public responded positively and he won the election. He became one of the senators who won the position in three non-consecutive terms.

Independent senator

He is affiliated with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). Technically he belongs to an opposition party, but at the Senate, he stands as independent and is part of the administration bloc. The minority bloc includes all of his party mates.

President of the Senate

Senate President Manuel Villar resigned due to lack of support in the Senate on November 17, 2008, and Enrile succeeded him on the same day. Enrile was nominated as President of the Senate by Panfilo Lacson; 14 senators supported the nomination and five of them abstained.

Personal life

Johnny, as he is often called, is married to Cristina Castañer, a Filipina of Spanish ancestry who in 2008 was named Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See. They have two children: Juan, Jr. and Katrina. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr. is currently a congressman representing the 1st District of Cagayanmarker. Katrina Ponce Enrile is the current CEO of Jaka Group, Ponce Enrile's company. The Jaka group owns the Philippine Match Company, the Philippines' leading match maker.

Arturo Ponce Enrile (1940-1998), a cousin, was a former secretary of Department of Transportation and Communications and former general, with her wife Mara Enrile. Olivia Ponce Enrile-Tirona, is a jazz singer and daughter of Brenda Ponce Enrile Tirona.

One of the architects of martial law

Political writer Alexander Remollino cites Juan Ponce Enrile as one of the architects of martial law. In a TV interview in 1991, Ponce Enrile actually claimed, "I am the author of martial law." He boasted in a number of media interviews of having himself issued a number of arrest, search and seize orders during the Marcos regime against oppositionists, including political figures, members of the media, student and labor activists, and members of left-wing groups. Whether these orders were also for torture and execution is argued by both friends and enemies alike.

Political writer and analyst Alfred McCoy in his speech, "Dark Legacy: Human Rights Under the Marcos Regime" of September 20, 1999, said that because of the peculiar state of Philippine culture and politics, the country has been "turning cronies into statesmen, torturers into legislators, and killers into generals." [212350]

On August 21, 2007, (Aquino’s 24th death anniversary), Juan Ponce Enrile stated that the case of the 14 soldiers incarcerated for 24 years now, due to the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr. should be reviewed for clemency. Ponce Enrile paid for the legal services of the soldiers during their trial, and said the soldiers and their family have suffered enough. Fifteen (15) soldiers of the Aviation Security Command were sentenced to double life imprisonment for the double murder of Aquino and his alleged lone communist gunman, Rolando Galman, and one of them has since died. They were all acquitted on December 1985, by the Sandiganbayan' Manuel Pamaran, but when the entire proceedings of that case were invalidated by the Supreme Court and the case brought again to trial, the Sandiganbayan's Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr., (promoted to Supreme Court Justice and incumbent 3 termer Judicial and Bar Council regular member) convicted them on September 28, 1990.

External links



References

  1. easybourse.com, Senators Name Juan Ponce Enrile As New Philippine Senate President
  2. abs-cbnnews.com, Enrile ousts Villar in Senate coup
  3. news.xinhuanet.com, Philippine senate president resigns
  4. gmanews.tv, Zubiri is new Senate Majority Leader
  5. Inquirer.net, Enrile seeks clemency for soldiers in Aquino slay



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