Posts Tagged ‘Enrile’

Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir is an autobiography of one of the most controversial figures in our contemporary political history, the defense minister and implementor of the Marcos dictatorship, a failed coup d’etat plotter against both the Marcos and Aquino governments, a political lord of the far-north province of Cagayan, a habitue of Congress, both as a congressman and as a senator, and the presiding officer of the impeachment court that convicted and removed from office Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Now almost 89 years old, he can claim a certain place in our nation’s history, having served in high places throughout his political career–on both sides of the political fence. He is a political survivor, missing only the post of presidency in the 1998 elections.

The interesting thing about Juan Ponce Enrile is how he can glibly change his story to fit the political necessity of the moment. Two of the most memorable stories came from him during the 1986 failed coup against Marcos. Holding a hasty press conference in beleaguered Camp Aguinaldo–and desperately calling for help–he admitted to his participation in the conduct of electoral fraud in the 1986 snap elections and in the staging of a fake ambush on his own convoy in Wack Wack Golf and Country Club on September 22, 1972, the night before martial law was publicly proclaimed the next day.

In the book, he made nary a mention of the 1986 snap election fraud and completely changed his story about the fake ambush, asserting the opposite that it was really a genuine ambush by unidentified persons. And to think that this was the last act in the series of staged terror attacks in the three months preceding the declaration of martial law and cited as basis for Proclamation 1081!

My own recollection of the period is that the fake Enrile ambush and its citing as the signal for martial law declaration already circulated among some newsmen at least a month before the event. This is the reason why many student leaders and activists of the period were able to elude the massive dragnet by the military and police forces under Enrile’s administration and supervision in the first hours and days of martial rule.

Of course, it is Enrile’s decision on what to write and say on the history of his times. However, it is also our decision to believe him or not. In many accounts in the book, he provided new glimpses, maybe even truths, on the historical events he participated in. However, in the most important of them, he ended up rewriting and reinforcing old Marcos myths.

The question, therefore, hangs. What for? The nuanced presentation seemingly points to pandering for a Marcos revival while maintaining enough traction as a people power hero. Another myth, but its another story…

Shakespeare here is maybe relevant when he said in The Tempest: “What’s past is prologue.”

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Word just arrived that Senator Manuel Villar just resigned from Senate presidency in the face of an insurmountable majority vote against him. With him went the Wednesday Club members Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, and Sen. Francis Pangilinan as Majority Floor Leader.

What essentially happened was a revolt of the presidentiables teaming up with erstwhile administration senators. The latter were also instrumental in placing Villar in this position before.

On one hand, presidentiables got nervous at Villar’s front-running this early in the presidential derby, particularly because of his rumored deep war chest and extensive provincial network. They fear that the Senate presidency will be used in “aid of Villar’s candidacy.”

On the other hand, both the opposition and administration senators fear that he will use his position (and that of Cayetano’s Blue Ribbon Committee) to further his campaign at their expense in the Senate hearings.

Of course, there is the opportunity for the GMA administration to pursue the Charter change agenda under Enrile’s watch. However, he is too much of a wild card at this time of an increasingly lameduck GMA presidency. It is more correct to say that anything may happen. What is more discernible is that the ruling coalition will try to make a play to stay on top of the increasingly unstable situation.

We must watch out for the agreements that underpin the majority’s support for an Enrile Senate presidency. There is more than meets the eye on this one.

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