One such man grew up poor and out of wedlock and continues to influence world events. His EDSA led revolt became a model for toppling repressive regimes all over the world.
Juan Ponce Enrile was born on Valentine's Day in a remote village in Cagayan. He was christened Juanito Furagganan, taking his mother's name.
Looking for better opportunities, the young Juanito left Gonzaga, Cagayan for the poblacion and enrolled in school by working as a servant to his mother's relative.
He later transferred to Aparri and enrolled at the Cagayan Valley Institute.
World War II broke out and Juanito, now a young man joined the guerillas. He was caught, imprisoned and tortured. He escaped, and at the end of the war, was serving in the U.S. Quartermaster depot in Aparri, Cagayan.
While the war was raging, his half sisters evacuated to Aparri and learned about Juanito.
After the war, Juanito met his father in the latter's Law Office in Binondo, Manila.
Don Alfonso brought Juanito home to Malabon. He was given a new name, Juan Ponce Enrile. He resumed his High School education at the St. James Academy in Malabon.
In 1947, he entered Ateneo de Manila graduating cum laude with an Associate in Arts Degree. In the UP, he graduated cum laude and salutatorian of UP Law Class 1953. He later passed the Bar Examinations placing 11th with a 91.72% rating and getting a perfect score in commercial law.
He was offered a scholarship by the Harvard University where he earned a Master of Laws degree specializing in taxation and corporate reorganization.
Returning to the Philippines, he joined the Ponce Enrile, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo, Bello Law Office where he emerged as a top corporate and litigation lawyer. He never lost a case.
In 1966, he was appointed as Undersecretary of Finance, acting Insurance Commissioner of Customs and acting Chairman of the Monetary Board. In 1968-70 he served as Secretary of Justice. He was appointed Secretary of National Defense in 1970, a position he held for almost seventeen (17) years until 1986.
He became an Assemblyman of Cagayan in 1978 and was reelected in 1984.
The events of February 1986 marked turning point in the history of the Philippines and in Enrile's career. Following the turbulent snap elections of February 7,1986, and amid the prolonged crisis that gripped the country after the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., Enrile withdrew his support for the Marcos government and led the revolt that triggered what would be known as the People Power or EDSA Revolution.
Together with a handful of officers and men, he rallied the ranks of the Philippine military behind the rebellion, which culminated in the fall of the Marcos government.
It was during this time that hundreds of thousands of citizens poured into EDSA (Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue) and for four days surrounded the camp where Enrile and his men were holding out, thus averting a bloody confrontation between the rebels and Marcos loyalist group in the military.
Mrs. Corazon Aquino, who was proclaimed the New President, reappointed Enrile as Secretary of National Defense. He left the post after six months, however, as differences over policy with the new administration grew.
In 1987, he ran and won as opposition Senator. Subsequently, was the lone opposition Senator in the Senate. As Minority Floor Leader, he was a member of all the standing committees of the Senate. He was also a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Appointments.
In the May 11, 1992 elections, he won a seat in the House of Representatives by a landslide representing the First District of Cagayan, his home province. He joined the Liberal Party, to which his father belonged, shortly after.
In the May 1995 elections he ran and won a seat once again in the Senate under the Lakas Coalition. Again he was a member of the Commission on Appointments and Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.
At that time, he authored the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which eventually became Republic Act 8424. Among the inclusions that would greatly benefit the Overseas Filipino Worker in this law is the exemption of their income earned abroad from taxation, thus enabling them to save a more substantial amount from their salaries for their families. In addition to this, is the exemption from capital gains tax, proceeds realized from the sale of one's family home provided that such gains would be utilized to acquire another residential home.
During the 10th and 11th Congress, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile filed several legislative landmarks namely: the; SB No. 2068 which seeks to increase by at least 100% the personal and additional tax exemptions granted to individual income tax payers; SB. No. 2089 which seeks to reduce the income tax rates on taxable income; SB 1887 which would allow the deductibility from taxable income of interest payments on housing loans, and in addition, SB No. 2082 which seeks to exempt all the allowances and benefits granted to public school teachers, including those in state colleges and universities from income tax.
He has gone on to serve as one of the most productive and outstanding senators in the present Congress.
He has continued to serve as he has lived- with excellence, determination and desire to serve the Filipino people.
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