Enrile: Serving 2 Marcoses were my happiest moments

Helen Flores, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Enrile: Serving 2 Marcoses were my happiest moments
EXTRAORDINARY CENTENARIANS: President Marcos poses with world renowned tattoo artist Whang-od, who turns 107 years old on Feb. 17, and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, who celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — For centenarian Juan Ponce Enrile, serving two Marcoses as president were the happiest moments of his life.

Enrile, currently the chief presidential legal counsel, served as justice and defense minister under the government of President Marcos’ father and namesake.?

“The happiest moment of my life was when I served the first presidency of a Marcos president and the second time is now that I’m serving the son of that president, our President Bongbong Marcos,” Enrile said during a lunch to celebrate his 100th birthday, which was hosted by the President at Malacañang.

“I would like to thank your father and your mother for what they did to make me what I am today before you,” Enrile told the President.?

First Lady Liza Marcos, former first lady Imelda Marcos, former president Joseph Estrada and several senators, including Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, were among those who attended the celebration for Enrile, based on a photo shared with Palace reporters on Wednesday.?

In his speech, the President emphasized the importance of Enrile’s role in his administration.?“He is a remarkable person and I’m just so happy to have known him… I must admit, to have him in my corner allows me to sleep better at night,” Marcos said.?

The President said prior to his presidency, he already sought Enrile’s advice on work in the government.

At the same occasion, the Chief Executive conferred a Presidential Letter of Felicitation on Enrile.?

The event also featured the unveiling of a centenarian stamp honoring Enrile’s long career in public service.?

As he turned 100, Enrile received the mandated P100,000 cash gift for centenarians.

There was no word yet from Enrile on how he would spend the incentive.

JPE meets Whang-od

Enrile had the opportunity to meet with a fellow centenarian, traditional tattoo artist Whang-od, yesterday in Malacañang.

Whang-od, who is six years older than Enrile, was in the Palace to receive the Presidential Medal of Merit for her contributions to the country’s culture and heritage.

Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil posted a photo of Enrile and Whang-od in her Facebook account.

“A once-in-a lifetime Valentine’s Day with (two) remarkable Filipino centenarians,” Garafil said in her post.

In a text message to The STAR, Garafil described the meeting as “very pleasant” and “congenial.”

“Sec. JPE (Juan Ponce Enrile) even said in jest that he should have met Whang-od when they were younger,” she said.


Enrile started his government service on Jan. 16, 1966 as undersecretary of finance.

He held numerous high-ranking positions such as acting finance secretary and concurrent acting insurance commissioner, commissioner of customs and acting chairman of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of the Philippines from 1966 to 1968.

Enrile served as justice secretary from 1968 to 1970.He was defense minister from February 1970 to August 1971, and reappointed to the same post in January 1972.

He served as representative of the first district of Cagayan and then a senator for four terms.

He also served as Senate president in 2008 under the Arroyo administration until the early years of the government of the late president Benigno Simeon Aquino III.Enrile was 98 when he was appointed by Marcos as chief presidential legal counsel.

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