When everybody thought that in his younger years during the Martial Law, when he was one of the most trusted and powerful henchman of President turned dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, then defense secretary Juan Ponce Enrile deserved to be hailed as heel turned hero, now in his old age, but still lucid and brilliant, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is being perceived by many, who continues to have vivid memories of the Martial law, as hero turned heel.
Blame it to the portion dealing with Martial Law in his 754-page autobiography, which he titled, “Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir“.
While many believed, coming from the horse’s mouth, that Enrile faked his own ambush as an ultimate justification for declaring Martial Law, now in his memoir, he is vehemently denying he staged it – meaning that it never happened in any way, shape and form, and much less having mentioned the attempt on his life to anybody.
This is what has started the latest Enrile conundrum.
There is no denying that what made Enrile a heel was the fact that as Defense Minister, he presided over the Executive Committee of the National Security Council in those ominous days, thus making him one of the prime architects of Marcos’ martial rule.
But, Enrile emerged a hero, however, when he and then Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos abandoned Marcos and joined the growing and determined people’s revolt against the regime. This after, Enrile sensed that Marcos lent his ears more to Gen. Fabian Ver, then the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Clearly he was falling out of grace and the rest is history.
If for the past 40 years, history, wherever and whenever one looks at it or researches and reads about it, states that Enrile revealed details of the public deception he had perpetuated while serving in the Marcos government, including his knowledge 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, then why is he contradicting and, in fact, refuting history now?
I used to dislike Enrile simply because of his long, close and opportunistic association with the strongman Marcos and the resultant of their partnership, but over time I softened up. His performance in the Senate somehow has vindicated his tainted past. Never mind the wealth he amassed during his heydays with the politician turned despot.
I have a number of blogs about Enrile expressing my high regard for his ability and brilliance despite his advanced age. Crowning it was his superb handling of the impeachment trial of the corrupt former chief justice Renato Corona that led to the latter’s conviction.
But, Enrile’s recently published memoir that is causing a lot of controversy because of his adamant denial that his staged ambush never ever happened leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and to many, who have seen this dark part of our country’s history conceived and executed, and who, in many replays of his historic interviews, have heard him admit that the assault on his life was, in fact, faked.
We may have forgotten some of the events that unfolded in our history’s dark past participated by some people of lesser lights, but we can never forget the significant roles of the key players who plotted the conceptualization and actualization of Martial Law that brought chaos, miseries, atrocities, displacements, disappearances and deaths, which eventually led to a successful and unprecedented people power revolution.
What Enrile’s book controversy boils down to is a choice between history’s voluminous accounts that says one and the same thing, and supported by testimonies of those still alive, on one hand, and, on the other hand, that of Enrile and his own self-serving version, which has only been discussed and disclosed nonchalantly in his recently published memoir.
You be the judge.