Juan Ponce Enrile

Juan Ponce Enrile

Infobox Officeholder
name = Juan Ponce Enrile

imagesize =

caption =
order =
office = Senator of the Philippines
term_start = June 30, 2004
term_end =
order2 =
office2 = Senator of the Philippines
term_start2 = June 30, 1995
term_end2 = June 30, 2001
order3 =
office3 = Representative, 1st District of Cagayan
term_start3 = June 30, 1992
term_end3 = June 30, 1995
order4 =
office4 = Senator of the Philippines
term_start4 = June 30, 1987
term_end4 = June 30, 1992
order5 =
office5 = Regional Assemblymen, Region II
term_start5 = June 12, 1978
term_end5 = June 5, 1984
order6 =
office6 = Secretary/Minister of National Defense
term_start6 = 1970
term_end6 = 1986
order7 =
office7 = Secretary of Justice
term_start7 = December 17, 1968
term_end7 = February 7, 1970
order8 =
office8 = Acting Secretary of Finance
term_start8 = 1966
term_end8 = 1968
birth_date = birth date and age|1924|02|14
birth_place = Gonzaga, Cagayan
death_date =
death_place =
nationality =
party =
* Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (2001- )
* "Independent" (1995-2001)
* Nacionalista (1965-1972; 1987-1995)
* KBL (1978-1986)
spouse = Cristina Castañer
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation = Civil servant
profession = Politician
religion = Roman Catholic

website =
footnotes =

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 a leader in the 1986 People Power Movement that drove President Ferdinand Marcos from power. He is a current senator of the Philippines.

Early life and career

Enrile was born in Gonzaga, Cagayan to 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 Enrile. In 1949, he graduated cum laude with a degree of Associate in Arts at the Ateneo de Manila University. He took a degree of Bachelor of Laws 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. In the 1953 bar examinations, he ended up at the 11th highest score with a 91.72% rating and a perfect score in Taxation Law. He became a scholar at the Harvard Law School where he earned the degree Master of Laws with specialized training in International Tax.

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, Enrile became part of his inner circle.

Marcos' inner circle

From 1966 to 1968, he was the undersecretary and 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.

In 1972, one of Marcos' reasons for the declaration of martial law was terrorism. He cited the bombing of Enrile's car. In 1973, Enrile's title became Defense Minister. As Defense Minister, he presided 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, Enrile became fearful for his safety. As the Marcos dictatorship became increasingly unpopular, Enrile began aligning himself with dissident elements in the army, particularly the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). Officers from this group, with Enrile’s 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, 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, 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. Enrile 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 had spread that Ramos and 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 minister of national defense under Corazon Aquino, who replaced Marcos as president, but Enrile increasingly differed with Aquino. She forced Enrile to resign as defense minister in November 1986. In May 1987 he won election as one of two opposition members of the country’s 24-member Senate (the other one is Joseph Estrada). In August 1987, a coup against Aquino escalated and it brought to the destruction of the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. He was detained in a house-type quarters in Camp Aguinaldo over suspicion of planning the coup with Gregorio Honasan. He was released days after due to lack of evidence.

Election bid

In 1992, Enrile predicted that he may end up losing the senatorial election or winning but only serving three years in office. Under the transitory provisions of the 1987 constitution, the first 12 candidates who receive the highest votes wins a 6 year term, the next 12 would only serve 3 years. He ran instead as congressman. He won the election and represented the 1st District of Cagayan. In 1995, he ran as independent for the second time as senator under the Lakas-Laban coalition. He won and held the position until 2001. While active in his position as senator, he ran as an independent in the 1998 elections for the 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 that ousted 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" coalition. Due to the issues that haunted him during the failed siege, he lost the election.

2004 elections

In 2004 elections, he made a comeback bid for the Senate under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP). He was actively opposing 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 for a refund on electric bills, he received a positive response from the public and 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 Puwersa 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.

Personal life

Johnny, as what he was often called, is married to Cristina Castañer, a Spanish national. 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 is the current CEO of Jaka Group, Enrile's company. The Jaka group owns the Philippine Match Company, the Philippines leading match maker. While Arturo Enrile (1940-1998) is a former secretary of Department of Transportation and Communications and he is the cousin of Johnny.

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, Enrile claimed, "I am the author of martial law." He had boasted in a number of media interviews of having himself issued a number of arrests, 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 being argued by both his 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." [http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/54a/062.html]

On August 21, 2007, (Aquino’s 24th death anniversary), 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. Enrile paid for the legal services of the soldiers during their trial, and said the soldiers and their family have suffered enough. 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 had died. They were all acquitted on December 1985, by the Sandiganbayan' Manuel Pamaran, but 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 Sept. 28, 1990. [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=83821 Inquirer.net, Enrile seeks clemency for soldiers in Aquino slay] ]

External links

* [http://www.jpenrile.com]
* [http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen13th.htm Senate of the Philippines]
* [http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/Congress/13thSenate/SALS/enrile-SAL.html Juan Ponce Enrile's Assets and Liabilities]
* [http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/former_senators/juan_ponce_enrile.htm Juan Ponce Enrile's Official Philippine Senate biography]


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