Juan Ponce Enrile

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This article is about the Philippine senator. For his son, see Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr. For the town, see Enrile, Cagayan.
Juan Ponce Enrile, Sr.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.jpg
Senate Minority Floor Leader
In office
July 22, 2013 – June 30, 2016
Preceded by Alan Peter Cayetano
Succeeded by Tito Sotto (Acting)
Senator of the Philippines
In office
June 30, 2004 – June 30, 2016
In office
June 30, 1995 – June 30, 2001
In office
August 15, 1987 – June 30, 1992
26th President of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
November 17, 2008 – June 5, 2013
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2008–2010)
Benigno S. Aquino III (2010–2013)
Preceded by Manny Villar
Succeeded by Franklin Drilon
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Cagayan's First District
In office
June 30, 1992 – June 30, 1995
Preceded by Domingo A. Tuazon
Succeeded by Patricio T. Antonio
Mambabatas Pambansa (Assemblyman) from Cagayan
In office
June 30, 1984 – March 25, 1986
Served with:
Antonio C. Carag
Alfonso R. Reyno, Jr.
Mambabatas Pambansa (Assemblyman) from Region II
In office
June 12, 1978 – June 5, 1984
Minister of National Defense
In office
January 4, 1972 – November 23, 1986
President Ferdinand Marcos
Corazon Aquino
Preceded by Ferdinand Marcos
Succeeded by Rafael Ileto
In office
February 9, 1970 – August 27, 1971
President Ferdinand Marcos
Preceded by Ernesto Mata
Succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos
Secretary of Justice
In office
December 17, 1968 – February 7, 1970
President Ferdinand Marcos
Preceded by Claudio Teehankee, Sr.
Succeeded by Felix Makasiar
Secretary of Finance (acting)
In office
President Ferdinand Marcos
Preceded by Eduardo Romualdez
Succeeded by Eduardo Romualdez
Personal details
Born Juanito Furagganan[1]
(1924-02-14) February 14, 1924 (age 92)
Gonzaga, Cagayan, Philippine Islands
Nationality Filipino
Political party Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (2001–present)
Other political

Nacionalista (1965-1972; 1987-1995)
KBL (1978–1986)
Liberal (1995–2001)

UNA (2012–2015)
Spouse(s) Cristina Castañer
Children Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr.
Katrina Ponce Enrile
Residence Gonzaga, Cagayan
Dasmariñas Village, Makati City, Metro Manila
Alma mater Ateneo de Manila University
University of the Philippines College of Law
Harvard Law School
Occupation Lawyer
Profession Politician
Religion Roman Catholic
formerly Aglipayan

Juan Ponce Enrile Sr. (born February 14, 1924) is a Filipino politician and lawyer. He was a protégé of President Ferdinand Marcos, and served as Justice Secretary and then Defense Minister under the Marcos regime. He later became one of the leaders (along with General Fidel V. Ramos) of the 1986 People Power Revolution that drove Marcos from power and into exile. Enrile has continued to be a prominent politician since then; he was Senate President from November 2008 until his resignation on June 5, 2013.

Early life and career[edit]

Enrile was born in Gonzaga, Cagayan, to Petra Furagganan, the stepdaughter 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, and his second great-uncle was Mariano Ponce. As a young man, he was reunited with his father in the City of Manila and took his secondary education at the Saint James Academy in Malabon.

He graduated cum laude in 1949 with an Associate of Arts degree at the Ateneo de Manila University. Afterward, he attended the University of the Philippines College of Law and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Laws degree. While in law school, he joined the Sigma Rho fraternity. Upon graduation, he was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu and Phi Kappa Phi international honor societies. He achieved the 11th highest score in the 1953 bar examinations with a 91.72% rating and a perfect score in mercantile law. As a scholar at the Harvard Law School, he earned a Master of Laws degree with specialized training in international tax law.

He taught law at the Far Eastern University and practiced law in his father's law firm before taking responsibility for then Senator Ferdinand Marcos's personal legal affairs in 1964, especially during the latter's term as Senate President. After Marcos was elected president in 1965, Enrile became part of his 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 was the Secretary of Justice.

Secretary of National Defense[edit]

Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile with President Ferdinand Marcos.

In 1970 Enrile was appointed Secretary of the Department of National Defense. He left his post in 1971 to run unsuccessfully for a Senate seat. He was appointed Defense Chief in 1972. One of Marcos' justifications for the declaration of martial law that year was terrorism. He cited the alleged ambush attack on Enrile's car on September 21, 1972. In 1973, under the new modified parliamentary system then in place under the country's new constitution, 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 selection for assemblyman representing Cagayan Valley for the Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978.

As the 1980s began, Marcos began to disregard Enrile's authority as defense minister when he changed the chain of command in the military. Under the new chain of command, the authority would evolve from him as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces to his trusted military officer, General Fabian Ver, then the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Meaning, Enrile was bypassed and officers with close ties with him were being removed from command positions or being demoted and sometimes, would be retired forcibly from military service.

After opposition leader Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. was assassinated on August 21, 1983, Enrile started to break away from the increasingly unpopular Marcos dictatorship. He began aligning himself with dissident elements in the army, particularly the Reform the Armed Forces Movement - which was then headed by his Aide-de-camp, Lt. Col. Gregorio Honasan. Officers from this group, with Enrile's support, launched a coup d'état against Marcos in February 1986. Marcos was alerted to the plot by then General Ver, and the conspirators took refuge in two military camps. From there, Ponce Enrile and then Lt. General Fidel Ramos, the head of the defunct Philippine Constabulary (was integrated with the INP to form the Philippine National Police) and concurrently vice-chief of staff of the armed forces, rallied opponents against Marcos in a citizens' revolt that became known as the People Power Revolution. At the same time, Enrile revealed details of the public deception he had perpetuated while serving in the Marcos government. This included being aware of fraudulent voting 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 served as Secretary of National Defense under Corazon Aquino, who had replaced Marcos as president, but he increasingly differed with Aquino, specifically on the administration's handling of insurgent leftist opposition. As a result, he was forced to resign as Defense Secretary in November 1986.

Congressional career[edit]

First Senate term[edit]

In May 1987 Enrile won a seat in the 1987 election as one of two opposition members in the country's 24-member Senate (the other being Joseph Estrada), finishing 24th. He was unable to be proclaimed until August, when the electoral protest filed by Augusto Sanchez was dismissed. He formally assumed office on August 15, 1987. In the same month, an attempted coup against Aquino escalated and led to the destruction of the Armed Forces General Headquarters (AFPGHQ) in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. He was detained in Camp Aguinaldo over suspicion of planning the coup with Lt. Col. Gregorio Honasan, but was released days later for lack of evidence.

Member of the House of Representatives[edit]

In 1992, before his term in the Senate had ended, 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 12 candidates who receive the greatest number of votes serve a six-year term, the next 12 only three years. He ran instead for the House of Representatives of the Philippines. He was elected and represented the First District of Cagayan.

Second to fourth senate terms[edit]

In 1995 Enrile ran in the senatorial race as an independent candidate for senator and was also a guest candidate under the LakasLaban coalition. He won as senator and held the position until 2001. During his term as senator, he ran as an independent candidate in the 1998 election for the position of President. He lost to then Vice President Joseph Estrada.

On January 13, 2001 he was one of those who voted against the opening of the second bank envelope.[clarification needed] That vote led to the second EDSA People Power Revolution that eventually ousted President Estrada. From April 30 to May 1, 2001, together with Miriam Defensor Santiago, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III, he led the EDSA III protests in support of Joseph Estrada.[2][3] May 1, 2001, the protesters stormed Malacañang Palace.[3] In May 2001 he was indicted by the military for the investigation of the unsuccessful siege of the Malacañan Palace by pro-Estrada forces. He was released a day later. He ran for reelection as part of the Puwersa ng Masa coalition. Due to the issues that haunted him over the failed siege, he lost the election.

In the 2004 election, he made a comeback bid for the Senate under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) banner. He actively opposed the imposition of the Purchased Power Adjustment (PPA) on consumers' electric bills. Due to his exposé of the PPA and the Supreme Court decision in favour of a refund on electric bills, the public responded positively and elected him. He thus became a senator in three non-consecutive terms. He was reelected as senator in the 2010 elections. As of 2013, he is the oldest senator of the 15th Congress of the Philippines. Enrile is affiliated with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). Technically he belongs to an opposition party, but in the Senate, he stands as an independent and is part of the administration bloc. The minority bloc includes all of his party's members.

Senate Presidency[edit]


On November 17, 2008, Senate President Manuel Villar resigned due to lack of support, and Enrile succeeded him the same day.[4][5][6][7] Enrile was nominated by Panfilo Lacson; 14 senators supported the nomination and five abstained.[5] Enrile accepted the position, saying that "To lead the Senate with its great minds, strong advocacies, varying and independent political beliefs and leanings, is not an easy task. But it is precisely this variance in points of view and the battle of great ideas that provide the dynamism we need to craft legislation that takes into account and balances the competing interests involved – with the end in view of serving the greater good of the people to whom we owe our mandate."[citation needed]


Under his leadership, the Senate passed vital pieces of legislation such as the CARP Extension, Anti-Torture Act, Expanded Senior Citizens Act, Anti-Child Pornography Act, National Heritage Conservation Act, Real Estate Investment Act, among many others. Institutional reforms were also implemented within the Senate to improve the daily conduct of business as well the welfare of its officers and employees.

Maguindanao martial law[edit]

The Senate also collaborated with the House of Representatives on two crucial issues which are now considered historical milestones. In December 2009, it used Proclamation No. 1959 of the previous administration, declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao, while in May 2010, Congress convened to constitute itself as the national board to canvass the votes for president and vice president, and proclaim the winners.

Re-election as Senate President[edit]

with Hajime Ishii (left) on May 4, 2011

Enrile was re-elected to a fourth term in the 2010 Senate election. On July 26, 2010, he was re-elected President of the Senate. Enrile committed himself to "discharge my duties and responsibilities with honor, with total devotion to our institution, and with fairness to all members. No partisan consideration will blur or color the treatment of any member of the Senate. We are all Senators elected by the people to serve them with dedication to their interest and well-being and devotion to our responsibilities." Furthermore, in his acceptance speech, he enjoined his colleagues to "uphold the independence and integrity of this Senate, without abandoning our duty to cooperate with the other departments of the government to achieve what is good for our people."[citation needed]

Corona's impeachment, various feuds, and controversies[edit]

In early 2012 Enrile was the presiding officer of the Impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona. He was one of the 20 Senators voting guilty for the impeachment. In September 2012 he started a feud with Antonio Trillanes IV when he asked Trillanes why he secretly visited Beijing to talk about the Philippines and the Spratly Islands dispute on Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal. Trillanes said his visit in China was authorized by the Palace. He also alleged that Enrile was being pushed by former Pres. Gloria Arroyo to pass a bill splitting the province of Camarines Sur into two but Enrile denied the allegation.

In late 2012, Enrile also started a feud with Miriam Defensor Santiago when Santiago authored the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 with Pia Cayetano, which he opposed. In January 2013, Santiago exposed that Enrile allegedly gave PhP 1.6 million each to his fellow Senators, except for her, Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Trillanes, who were reportedly to have been only given PhP 250 thousand each. He admitted giving the said amount to the senators, saying it was part of the balance of the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds allowed per senator. On January 21, 2013, because of the controversies involving him, he attempted to vacate his position as Senate President but his motion was rejected.


Amid accusations against him, including the alleged distribution of MOOE funds to senators, Enrile stepped down as Senate President after his privilege speech on June 5, 2013.[8]


Enrile Cash Gift[edit]

In January 2013, while sitting as the Senate President. Enrile was accused of using Senate funds called MOOE as Christmas gifts to members of the senate who do not oppose him.[9][10][11] This led to his resignation as Senate president without sufficiently answering the controversy.[12]

Pork barrel scam[edit]

Enrile with Senators Jinggoy Estrada (left) and Bong Revilla (center) after Revilla's Privilege Speech at the Senate floor on June 9, 2014

In September 2013 Enrile was again involved in misappropriated funds, this time with regard to the PDAF or what is commonly called Pork Barrel fund. Twenty billion pesos worth of Priority Development Fund was illegally channeled through various bogus NGOs of Janet Napoles which most of it being used by the Senator.[13][14]

Enrile, along with fellow senators Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada, were indicted for plunder and for the violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan on 6 June 2014 in connection to the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. Alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and Enrile’s former chief of staff Gigi Reyes were also charged. Enrile allegedly received Php172 million in kickbacks from public funds.[15] He was detained on 3 July 2014 [16] and suspended from his Senate post [17] on 1 September 2014 for these charges, after his motions to post bail to lift the suspension order were denied [18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Enrile, or "Manong Johnny" as he is often called (manong is an Ilocano term of endearment for an older brother), is married to Cristina Castañer, a Hispanic mestiza who has been an Ambassadress to the Holy See. They have two children: Juan, Jr. and Katrina. Juan, Jr. or Jack is currently congressman for the 1st District of Cagayan and running for a Senate seat under UNA, while Katrina is currently CEO of Enrile's company Jaka Group, which owns the Philippine Match Company. Enrile has a half-sister, Armida Siguion-Reyna, who is a singer as well as a theatre and film actress.[citation needed]

Enrile has a rumored affair with his former long-time employee and chief of staff Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, 38 years his junior. The rumored affair came out after reports that Enrile’s wife, Cristina, walked out on him in January 1998 after charging him with adultery. The news made both local and international headlines.[20] Gigi Reyes was regarded as “the door, if not the bridge” to Enrile, referring to the extent of closeness between the two. Enrile’s special fondness for Reyes was again called out by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, after Reyes accused Cayetano in a media interview of hypocrisy for supposedly receiving a “cash gift” from Enrile.[21] The incident led to Reyes’s resignation from Enrile’s office, which Reyes said was also due to her difference in opinion on how Enrile responded to the issue of fund misuse. Enrile insisted the resignation was due to rumors of their illicit relationship.[22] Reyes’s name was once again linked to Enrile’s name for being of signing documents that facilitated the release of Enrile’s PDAF to fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim Napoles, the woman said to be behind the PDAF scam.[21]

Seeking clemency for those convicted of the Aquino assassination[edit]

On August 21, 2007, the 24th anniversary of Senator Aquino's death, Enrile stated that the case of the 14 soldiers incarcerated for 24 years for his assassination should be reviewed for clemency. Enrile paid for the legal services of the soldiers during their trial, and said the soldiers and their families had suffered enough. Fifteen soldiers of the Aviation Security Command had been sentenced to double life imprisonment for the double murder of Aquino and his alleged lone communist gunman, Rolando Galman, and one of them had since died. They were all acquitted in December 1985 by the Sandiganbayan's Manuel Pamaran, but when the entire proceedings were invalidated by the Supreme Court and the case retried, the Sandiganbayan's Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr. (promoted to Supreme Court Justice) convicted them again on September 28, 1990.[23]


  1. ^
    This name uses Philippine naming customs for natural children. There is no middle name nor paternal family name, but the surname or maternal family name is Furagganan.
  2. ^ "Miriam to GMA: Resign or we will storm palace". Philippine Star. April 30, 2001. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Remembering the Iglesia-led EDSA 3". Rappler. August 25, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ easybourse.com, Senators Name Juan Ponce Enrile As New Philippine Senate President
  5. ^ a b abs-cbnnews.com, Enrile ousts Villar in Senate coup
  6. ^ news.xinhuanet.com, Philippine senate president resigns
  7. ^ gmanews.tv, Zubiri is new Senate Majority Leader
  8. ^ Enrile resigns as Senate president retrieved June 5, 2013
  9. ^ http://www.rappler.com/nation/19395-enrile-s-cash-gifts-exclude-4-critics
  10. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/337461/enrile-gave-18-senators-p1-6m-each-for-christmas
  11. ^ http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/289408/news/nation/enrile-gave-p1-6m-to-all-fellow-senators-except-his-foes
  12. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/421361/enrile-quits-slams-critics
  13. ^ http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/09/14/1208471/luy-napoles-ngos-shifted-pork-lgus-2011
  14. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/473291/chief-aide-in-charge-of-enriles-pdaf-deals
  15. ^ http://www.rappler.com/nation/59826-enrile-jpe-jinggoy-charged-plunder-pdaf-scam
  16. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/617113/enrile-in-hospital-arrest-gigi-reyes-at-qc-jail
  17. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/634331/senate-carries-out-enrile-suspension
  18. ^ http://www.mb.com.ph/enriles-motion-to-fix-bail-denied
  19. ^ http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/22/14/sandigan-denies-enriles-plea-not-be-suspended
  20. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-01-30/news/9801300110_1_filipinos-sen-juan-ponce-enrile-president-fidel-ramos
  21. ^ a b http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/40261-boss-enrile-gigi-reyes
  22. ^ http://www.rappler.com/nation/20611-gigi-reyes-packs-up-from-enrile-office
  23. ^ Inquirer.net, Enrile seeks clemency for soldiers in Aquino slay

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Manny Villar
President of the Senate of the Philippines 
November 17, 2008 - June 5, 2013
Succeeded by
Jinggoy Estrada
Preceded by
Ernesto Mata
Ferdinand Marcos
Philippine Secretary of National Defense
February 9, 1970 – August 27, 1971
January 4, 1972 - November 23, 1986
Succeeded by
Ferdinand E. Marcos
Rafael M. Ileto
Preceded by
Claudio Teehankee, Sr.
Philippine Secretary of Justice
December 17, 1968 – February 7, 1970
Succeeded by
Felix Makasiar