Juan Ponce Enrile
- For the Philippine municipality, see
(born February 14, 1924) is a
political figure in the Philippines. Originally a protege of late
dictator Ferdinand Marcos
became one of the leaders (along with then General Fidel V.
) in the 1986 People Power Movement
President Ferdinand Marcos
from power. Enrile has
been the President of the Senate of the Philippines
Early life and career
Enrile was born as Juanito Furuganan in Gonzaga, Cagayan 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
graduated cum laude in 1949 with an
Associate of Arts degree at the
Ateneo de Manila
He then attained a Bachelor of Laws
degree and graduated
at the University of the Philippines
. 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.
scholar at the Harvard Law
School he earned a Master of
Laws degree with specialized training in International Tax
He taught law at the Far Eastern
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
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
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
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
other was Joseph Estrada
1987, a coup against Aquino escalated and led to the destruction of
the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
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.
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
elected and represented the First District of Cagayan.
1995, he ran as an independent for the second time as senator
under the Lakas
coalition. He won and
held the position until 2001. While active as senator, he ran as an
independent in the 1998 elections
position of President
He lost however to Vice President Joseph Estrada
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
President Joseph Estrada
. In May 2001 he was
indicted by the military for the investigation of the unsuccessful
siege of the Malacañang Palace by pro-Estrada forces.
He was released a day
after. He ran for reelection
as part of the
Puwersa ng Masa
Due to the issues that haunted him during the failed siege, he lost
In the 2004
, he made a comeback bid for the Senate under the
(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
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.
He is affiliated with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino
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
; 14 senators supported the nomination and five of them
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 Cagayan.
Katrina Ponce Enrile
current CEO of Jaka Group, Ponce Enrile's company. The Jaka group
owns the Philippine Match Company, the Philippines' leading
Arturo Ponce Enrile
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
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,
, and one of them has
since died. They were all acquitted on December 1985, by the
' 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
and incumbent 3 termer Judicial and Bar Council
member) convicted them on September 28, 1990.
- easybourse.com, Senators Name Juan Ponce Enrile As
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- news.xinhuanet.com, Philippine senate president
- gmanews.tv, Zubiri is new Senate Majority
- Inquirer.net, Enrile seeks clemency for soldiers in