PBBM hosts lunch for Enrile's 100th birthday

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos and Wilnard Bacelonia

February 14, 2024, 2:34 pm Updated on February 14, 2024, 5:01 pm

<p>Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile<em> (File photo)</em></p>

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday hosted a lunch for the 100th birthday of his chief legal counsel, Juan Ponce Enrile, and honored the centenarian’s significant contributions to the country’s development.

Marcos thanked Enrile for taking on the challenge as the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel under the current administration, making the latter the oldest and longest-serving public official in the country.

“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,” he said in a speech delivered during Enrile’s birthday celebration at Malacañan Palace in Manila.

Marcos recalled that he had sought Enrile’s advice on public service, even before his presidency.

He also conferred on Enrile a Presidential Letter of Felicitation during the event.

“To have a life that has reached 100 years that is full of achievement, that is full of purpose, that is full of service, that is full of duty makes this celebration a more remarkable one than it would normally be,” Marcos said.

Meanwhile, Enrile said starting his career in government under the watch of Marcos’ father, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., is “the happiest moment of [his] life.”

He thanked Marcos Sr. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos for giving him the opportunity to serve the country.

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

“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,” he added.

Good health

In a Facebook post, Malacañang wished Enrile “joy and good health.”

“The Office of the President (OP) extends warm birthday wishes to our Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Juan Ponce Enrile… Wishing you a year filled with joy and good health,” it said.

The OP also hailed Enrile’s “tireless efforts in serving (the country).”

Enrile, who spent his nearly six decades in public office, is a “constant inspiration to us all,” the OP added.

Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed meeting and shaking hands with House Speaker Martin Romualdez as both attended Enrile's birthday celebration in Malacañang.

Zubiri said they both agreed to "continue working for the benefit of the Marcos administration and the Filipino people."

"Good news, nag-usap kami ni Speaker [Romualdez] kanina. Sabi pa namin eh let's work professionally; tigil muna ang bangayan; and let's continue to work for the benefit of the [Marcos] administration para sa ating mga kababayan (I talked to Speaker Romualdez earlier. We agreed to work professionally and stop the squabbling and let's continue to work for the benefit of the Marcos administration for our countrymen)," he said in an interview.

Zubiri said he is also set to meet Romualdez next week to discuss legislations and proceedings in the Commission on Appointments.

Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., who also attended the event, posted on his Facebook page a photo of him with Zubiri, Romualdez, and Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr..

"Very happy to see the leaders of both Houses, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez, coming together - with Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo. Nagkakaisa para sa bayan (United for the country)," the photo caption read.

Enrile began his career in public office when he assumed the role of finance undersecretary under the leadership of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

He was also instrumental in introducing amendments to the rules and regulations that are still included in the current Insurance Code of the Philippines during his stint as acting head of the Insurance Commission.

He likewise served as acting Customs commissioner, acting finance secretary, chairperson of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of the Philippines, and defense secretary under the watch of Marcos Sr.

Enrile spent four terms in the Senate and became the 21st Senate president during the 15th Congress from 2008 to 2013.

His first term in the Senate ran from 1987 to 1992, serving as the lone minority in the chamber.

He also served one term in the House of Representatives from 1992 to 1995 as representative of Cagayan’s first district.

In 2016, Enrile announced his plan to retire from public service. However, he joined but lost the 2019 senatorial race.

In July 2022, he was sworn in as Marcos Jr.’s chief legal counsel. (PNA)