Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile

Purple S. Romero

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Enrile found nothing wrong in the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice


Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile

In defense of SC’s flip-flops

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has defended the Supreme Court’s controversial flip-flopping on the following cases: the conversion of 16 municipalities into cities and the resurrection of the labor case between the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the Flight Attendant’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines.

Defending the Hight Court in the FASAP issue, Enrile said he has faith in the “rectitude of the court.” “Magkamali man sila, all of them will not be insensitive, especially [since] we take an oath to follow ethical standards,” he said. 

Enrile’s longtime associate, lawyer Estelito Mendoza, is the legal counsel of PAL and of the 16 municipalities whose conversion into cityhood has been criticized as unconstitutional. Mendoza had written the SC to have both cases – which the high court had already ruled on  – reopened. And the High Tribunal reopened them.

Both cases are cited in the 5th article of the impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Renato Corona. 

Age: 88

Education: Associate of Arts degree, Ateneo; Law, UP; Masters of Law, Harvard

Professional background: Lawyer. He is one of the partners in the Ponce Enrile, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo, Belo and Ongsiako Law Offices and a former key partner of ACCRA (Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz law firm) who helped make it a premier firm during the Marcos regime.

Senate committee: Senate President; chair, Commission on Appointments

Current term: 2010 to 2016

Eligible for reelection? No. Enrile’s current term ends in 2016. It’s his second consecutive term since getting elected back to the Senate in 2004. He served two non-consecutive terms at the Senate prior to this. He was first elected to a 5-year term in 1987. Instead of running for reelection in 1992, he ran for representative of the 1st District of Cagayan province. In 1995 he made another bid for the Senate, winning a 6-year term this time around. When his term ended in 2001, he vied for reelection but lost.  

Political party: Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino 

Fraternity: Sigma Rho. Fraternity brothers include SC Justice Antonio Carpio and fellow Senators Franklin Drilon and Edgardo Angara

Pending cases before SC: Enrile is one of the respondents in a case filed by militant groups in connection with the passage of Republic Act No. 9490 and Republic Act No. 10083, which created the Aurora Special Economic Zone (RA 10083 amended RA 9490). 

Senate bloc: Enrile is widely known to belong to a power bloc that includes Senators Gregorio Honasan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Panfilo Lacson and Jinggoy Estrada, considered a “swing bloc” in the ongoing impeachment trial.

Role in Estrada impeachment: Enrile voted against the opening of the second envelope, which was alleged to contain evidence that would have further pinned down Estrada. The defense panel’s refusal to open the envelope triggered a walkout by prosecutors that eventually led to Edsa 2.

Published or aired position on Corona or on issues contained in the Articles of Impeachment:  In 2010, Enrile said former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had every right to appoint a new chief justice even if she was banned from doing so by jurisprudence at the time.

He voted for the creation of the province of Dinagat island and the conversion of 16 municipalities to cities, now the subject of the impeachment complaint.

He found no basis for Corona to inhibit from cases involving Mrs Arroyo. He also criticized the Department of Justice for not allowing Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad, adding Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should be charged with contempt for defying the High Tribunal’s decision lifting the travel ban on the Arroyos.

Enrile also opposed the plan of the Department of Budget and Management to impound P2 billion of the judiciary’s budget under the Miscellaneous Personal Benefit Fund.

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