A survivor of numerous crises, businesswoman Katrina C. Ponce Enrile is more known as the only daughter of now embattled former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and younger sister of former Cagayan Congressman Jack Ponce Enrile. Educated at University of the Philippines (UP) and St. Paul University, Katrina is the president and chief executive officer of her family’s Jaka Group comprised of 22 diverse companies. She recently agreed to give the Philippine STAR a no-holds barred interview at her home in Makati City.
THE PHILIPPINE STAR: What is your opinion of the now raging pork barrel controversy implicating the names of your father Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and many other politicians including President Aquino’s allies of alleged plunder?
KATRINA PONCE ENRILE: The truth is, my dad told me not to say my piece.
Not as a lawyer or a politician, but as his daughter, your personal views?
I just wish they would allow my father his day in court and I am confident he can defend himself against all those accusations in a fair court.
Do you feel that your dad has been somehow already pre-judged?
Some people have already made up their minds that he is guilty, and I do not want to argue with biased people because I do not want to waste their time and mine. Even media reports on the allegations have been relentless. We’ve been the subject of many negative front-page reports since October 2012, sometimes I don’t want to read newspapers anymore or to watch local news on TV.
Your comment on your father’s former chief of staff and also co-accused in the plunder case, Atty. Gigi Reyes, especially on their alleged relationship?
No comment. I can’t comment….
Your comments on the return of Gigi Reyes in April?
I’m glad she’s back. I’m sure she’s back to clear her name as well.
How is Gigi Reyes as a person, were you close before, did you know her well?
You know, Gigi Reyes was actually my schoolmate at UP. We were batchmates and sometimes we were even classmates I think.
How are you personally coping with this newest crisis in your family?
My mom always tells me just to pray. She said we should be prayerful and to be close to the Lord.
Is this pork barrel controversy your family’s worst crisis?
There’s actually a lot, like during the time of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, we had no idea if we’d still see my dad alive after that crisis then.
Another more famous crisis I think was the controversial death of your former boyfriend the actor Alfie Anido in 1981, how long were you together?
Almost one year.
Did you at that time discuss possible marriage to Alfie Anido?
Yes, we were already planning on getting married. We were never on and off, in fact, we were on until the day of his birthday and suicide. I only broke up with him that very moment, just before he committed suicide on Dec. 30, 1981.
You broke up on his birthday?
It was his birthday party, we fought. I didn’t like what he did, so I broke up with him.
You say that Alfie committed suicide, was he drunk or maybe even possibly mixed liquor with illegal drugs?
I think he was more than drunk.
What illegal drugs did Alfie use?
He took everything.
Did you see him actually taking drugs?
No, I didn’t see him taking drugs; he told me. I said before that I would break up with him if he didn’t get clean, so he stopped for a while. Then on his birthday, he told me that since it was his birthday, I should allow him to enjoy just this one time. I said to him: “Ok, be happy just this one time.” That was my mistake.
On your plan to marry Alfie, what did your parents say about this?
We were already in our 20’s, so we felt we had no need to tell our parents. Alfie was 20 years old, I was also 20.
Alfie proposed marriage to you how many days before his death?
He proposed a month and a half before he died.
You say many men feared to court you because your dad was Defense minister during the martial law era, how did Alfie Anido get to know you and court you?
I met him through his sister Babita.
How was he as a person?
He was actually a nice person, just misunderstood.
Regal Films producer Mother Lily Monteverde told me you both visited her to invite her as wedding godmother? Where would you have held your wedding?
Yes, Mother Lily was the first godparent we visited and invited. Alfie brought me to her, because he was then a Regal baby, one of her actors. The wedding… a church wedding, or probably a civil wedding.
I heard Alfie’s death was a very painful loss for you?
Yes, it was… It really affected me very much because… we broke up… Do I mention this, actually I was already pregnant when we were planning our wedding.
What happened to the baby?
I suffered a miscarriage in the third month, because of all the stress after Alfie’s death. Our family suffered a lot, too, during that time.
Did Alfie know that you were pregnant?
No, Alfie never knew that I was pregnant. I also didn’t know yet when he died that I was already pregnant.
This was never revealed or reported in media at that time or ever?
Yes, this is the first time I’m telling anyone outside our family about my pregnancy and miscarriage.
How did you recover from that crisis?
I was then studying at U.P. and it was the Christmas holiday break. I told my father that I wanted to quit school and not to go back in January. My dad said to me: “No, you go back to school.”
Your dad helped you recover, you sought his help?
It was my dad who talked to me every day after he came home from the office. He sought me out. He’s a very loving father, very authentic, sincere and caring. My friends, they also never left me. I have a few good friends.
Was romance with Alfie Anido your most unforgettable relationship?
He’s the most talked about.
Critics and others dispute your family’s account of the Alfie Anido suicide, claiming that it was your brother who shot him?
People can say what they want, they can actually believe what they want, but if I meet my maker I can do so without that as an issue. I really know what happened. I know my brother Jack is innocent. I know the truth. I can meet the Lord and He knows what happened that night, and no amount of anybody saying otherwise will change that fact.
After his suicide, it was his father and I who went to Loyola Chapel in Guadalupe, Makati to pick out his coffin. And it was I who looked for the suit I gave him, which was what he wore for the funeral. On Dec. 31, on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, it was only me and Alfie inside that chapel, kami lang dalawa (only the two of us).
Was there a suicide note?
Yes, Alfie’s dad gave me a Xerox copy of the suicide note addressed to him.
Did Alfie mention you in the suicide note?
Alfie wrote in the last line of that note: “Tell Katrina: I love you.”
When you broke up with him, didn’t you still have some feelings for Alfie? Was there still some hope for him to woo you back?
Of course... It was actually a spur of the moment, my breaking up with him. It was just a lovers’ quarrel. Yes, we could have gotten back.
What is your advice to others on how to endure and overcome crises?
Sometimes you really have to go through crisis. I’ve had to endure and overcome so many crises in my life. My coping mechanism has always been and will always be my love for music, all kinds of music except rock. Of course, having friends is important, too. My friends stuck by me, and I also stick by them… The only thing that keeps me going during crisis is this thought — I know that for every crisis, there is an end to it. No matter how long or short the crisis, but almost always, there is an end to it.
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