"There is only Juan who has the intellectual capacity and grasp of the law."
There are only 17 days left before the May 13 midterm elections. At this stage in the homestretch of the political campaign, voters are asking themselves who they will and should elect into office. This is a crucial decision only they can make. Voters know and are familiar with candidates for local positions like congressmen, governors, mayors, councilors, etc. But it is at the national level where senators are running at large and where the stakes are higher.
There are only 12 senatoial candidates who can make it to the winning column. This is where I would like to make known my preferences, foremost of whom is to return former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to the upper chamber. There are doubters that Enrile at 94 is too old to stand the rigors and demanding duty of a lawmaker. But the man has the energy and competence for the job. This, JPE has proven when he took to the hustings and campaigned as hard as the younger candidates under the scorching sun and sometimes rain in the southern part of the country. So far Enrile in his campaign has covered Northern provinces including his hometown of Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Bicol, Quezon and Aurora
For sure, I will be accused of being biased for the man because we are in the same 365 Club that meets every Thursday and Saturday at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Makati for coffee to talk about current issues in governance. And it is here in this twice-a-week meeting for morning coffee and exchange of political views that I would listen to the man and learn. Enrile holds court at the 365 but does not monopolize the discussion; he would ask me, fellow columnist Emil Jurado and others what their views are on the day’s headlines. I am amazed at the man for his intelligence in local and global events and how both are intertwined to explain why such are relevant in the present scheme of things. There is a saying that one can be history if one is not current. That also goes the other way that one does not have the currency of thought if he does not have a sense of history.
This is the area where I find Enrile in his element. Enrile is without peer in his uncanny memory for world history on subjects such as politics, economics, religion literature and culture. We at the 365 are amazed at how Enrile can remember historical names like Disraeli, Robespierre, Cromwell, Omar Khayam and the significant roles they played in the history of the world. Listening to Enrile is more than being enthralled; it is a learning experience.
This I dare say—there is only Juan who has the intellectual capacity and grasp of the law—given all the other reelectionists, incumbents and newcomer candidates to the Senate combined can match Enrile’s qualifications.
Is Enrile too old for the Senate? My answer to that is the living example of Dr. Mahathir Mohammad who at age 94 was voted back as Prime Minister by the people of Malaysia. This goes to show that there is no age limit for leadership and intelligence. The young ones in the Senate can learn a lot from the young once Juan Ponce Enrile. He recalled that during his sorties in the provinces he was surprised how the millennials or the young ones in the crowd would sidle up to him for a selfie.
“This is what gives me the energy to continue my campaign knowing that I can relate to the young and not only to senior citizens.”
Enrile is known as the Marcos martial law architect and administrator. But he is also known as a benevolent key figure of martial law who helped many to be released from prison and the extremism of military personnel.
Media figures who were incarcerated during martial law remember how Enrile interceded in their behalf to be released from Camp Crame detention.
Will Enrile make it in the Magic 12 of senatorial winners? Both Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia list the veteran lawmaker in the 11 to 14 ranking. But Enrile is unfazed by the SWS and Pulse Asia polls claiming these surveys are not always correct given the small number of voters polled and the area covered. At the homestretch of the campaign, Enrile I think, is within striking distance to make it to the Magic 12.