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Reflections

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Juanito Furagganan(a.k.a.Juan Ponce Enrile): Quo Vadis?

Juanito Furagganan, later Juan Ponce Enrile
"He is a paradox, a bundle of contradictions, a mystery wrapped around a riddle inside an enigma. "
Juan Ponce Enrile (Tagalog pronunciation: [hu'an pon'se en'ɾile]), (born Juanito Furagganan, later Juanito Ponce; 14 February 1924) is a Filipino politician. As a protégé of President Ferdinand Marcos, he 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 Movement that drove Marcos from power. Enrile has continued to be a prominent politician since then; he was President of the Senate of the Philippines from November 2008 until his resignation on June 5, 2013. From Wikipedia
His birth place:Gonzaga is a first class municipality in the province of Cagayan, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, Gonzaga has a population of 36,303 people.
Gonzaga is primarily an agricultural municipality, with more than half of the workforce employed primarily as either farmers or fishers. Approximately 5,500 hectares (14,000 acres) of agricultural land are currently under production, the majority of which are dedicated to rice farming. From Wikipedia
The humble roots of Juanito Furagganan
In a small barrio in the sleepy coastal town of Gonzaga in the province of Cagayan, he was born and baptized Juanito Furruganan, son of a peasant woman called Petra Furruganan. 
He later transferred to Aparri and enrolled at the Cagayan Valley Institute.
He was good in math, wanted to be a scientist, and earned extra money by tutoring the daughter of one of the richest men in town. Rich bullies, consumed by jealousy, beat him up within an inch of his life. 
He complained to the authorities who advised him to forget the incident, or get thrown out of town. He felt outraged and betrayed; and it was this sense of injustice that induced him to abandon science and take up law. He had not met his father who in turn did not even know he existed. Juanito decided to go to Manila and confront his father. To raise the transportation money, he worked as a road construction laborer and a fisherman. Finally at the age of 19, he came to Manila. 
One look at Juanito Furruganan and Don Alfonso Ponce Enrile knew this was his son. He is the spitting image of his father, he has the same broad toothy smile, lined cheeks, rough-hewn Castilian features, and most of all an unruly lock of hair that kept falling down his brow, and another that kept standing up at the back of his head. 
He was a chip off the old block if there ever was one, and Don Alfonso, a gentle person ever a gentleman, took him in as his son, made him work in the law firm, and sent him to the best schools, Ateneo, U.P. Law School and Harvard. 
His name is now Juan Ponce Enrile. 
He is a paradox, a bundle of contradictions, a mystery wrapped around a riddle inside an enigma. 
Gonzaga
Whenever he has insurmountable problems, or is just physically exhausted, he goes back to Cayagan, where he derives sustenance, rest and regeneration from his roots, among fishermen and farm workers. 
Here he is in his element, here he is Juanito Furruganan once again, here he loses the suspicion and animosity he sometimes shows to his peers in Manila.
Ludong
Feasting on ludong, the best fish in the world found only in the Cagayan River, Juanito practically drips with the milk of human kindness. It is a sight to see, common people coming to him with their problems. For Juanito has the ability to emphathize with his people, to share their troubles, and really help them. It is a gift that will in time serve him well.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Enrile: "I've never been known for betrayal" 
The Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde film tells the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll (Fredric March), a kind English doctor in Victorian London who is certain that within each man lurks impulses for both good and evil.
Can you guess the Filipino politician who has a similar personality?
As a protégé of President Ferdinand Marcos, he 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 Movement that drove Marcos from power.
On Feb. 22, 1986, hours after he broke away from Marcos following a failed coup attempt, Enrile told reporters his ambush was faked. In his memoir published last year, however, Enrile went back to his old story, that Marcos had written about in his diaries as the final straw, as it were, that broke the camel’s back. From Inquirer
Correspondent Stanley Karnow, in his book “In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines,” which won a Pulitzer prize, recounts that Enrile had told him after his aborted coup that the incident was a sham. “He was nowhere near the scene, but had simply ordered his own gunmen to shoot up his empty Ford.” From Inquirer
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. From Wikipedia
"God Save The Queen" Coup Plot
A more serious conspiracy unfolded some months later known as the "God Save the Queen Plot".The Davide Commission concluded that National Defense Secretary Enrile and members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) were involved in the plot.
Scheduled for 11 November 1986, the plot was discovered by government several days in advance and was deliberately leaked to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, thus thwarting the plan. The government then learnt that the plot was rescheduled for 22 November 1986.
On November 22, the military was placed on red alert and the rebel troops were blockaded, leading them to return to barracks.The following day, Aquino announced she had sacked Enrile as Defense Secretary and that she would revamp her Cabinet, "to give the government a chance to start all over again."
His Finest Moment:The Corona Impeachment
"I am not oblivious to the possible political repercussions of the final verdict we are called upon to render today. I am deeply concerned that the people may just so easily ignore, forget, if not completely miss out, the hard lessons we all must learn from this episode, instead of grow and mature as citizens of a democratic nation."
 Excerpt of JPE's Speech in the Corona Impeachment
In a statement, Enrile said in 1998, “What is totally false and malicious are the reports in the press and the rumor mills that the cause of our marital difficulties is an alleged relationship between me and my Chief of Staff, lawyer Gigi Reyes. There is no relationship, other than an official and professional one.”
Filipinos Riveted By Their Own News Of High-level Trysts
January 30, 1998
By Uli Schmetzer, Tribune Staff Writer.
MANILA — Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile's love life became headlines this week, giving Filipinos their own domestic version of what allegedly went on in the White House, the seat of power of their old colonial masters.
Enrile is not the president, but his alleged tryst with a top aide prompted his wife of 40 years to leave him this week with the public quip that she no longer could tolerate his chasing after other women, including domestic helpers, cooks and assistants.
Gigi Reyes: “You have the power to say, ‘This is not how my story will end.’"
"JUAN PONCE ENRILE…public servant, politician, friend, boss…but first and foremost…A LOVING FATHER. When he takes you under his wings, he will love and protect you at all cost…with self-abandon and self-sacrifice. " 
Gigi Reyes (Facebook)