92-year-old Enrile bows out of politics

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 06 2016 07:26 PM | Updated as of Sep 27 2016 12:32 PM

MANILA - After spending 50 years in public service, outgoing senator Juan Ponce Enrile is finally leaving politics to become a private citizen.

"I'm not going to involve myself in politics anymore. I will just fade away," Enrile said in a privilege speech, probably his last as a Senator.

Speaking in front of his colleagues at the Senate on Monday, Enrile recalled his long history of public service to the country, starting from his first government position as the undersecretary and acting secretary of the Department of Finance in 1966.

"This will be my last day to visit this chamber because when we adjourn at midnight today, I shall have closed my public service to the nation, a service that has spanned more than half a century when I began to work for the government in January of 1966," he said.

He also recalled his time in the legislative branch, both as a senator and a congressman.

"And all those years, Mr. President, I tried my best to serve the people because I felt that my call to the service was something that I never intended in the first place, but I was impressed into the service of the people and as a consequence, I thought that it was a mission for me to do," Enrile said.

Enrile thanked his colleagues while also asking for their understanding.

"I would like to thank all of my colleagues, and all of the people who worked with me, and beg their forbearance and understanding if in the heat of [the] debate, I somehow hurt them unwittingly, or displeased them," he said.

According to Enrile, he will no longer accept any government posts, but will continue watching over the country.

"I will not accept any more government posts, my God. I'm 93, I'm going to be 93 years old. 50 years in service, more than half a century of service is more than enough," he said.

"But I will always watch what's going on in the country," Enrile added.

Enrile served in the executive branch for 20 years in different capacities. He was the undersecretary and acting secretary of the Department of Finance from 1966 to 1968, and was the secretary of Justice from 1968 to 1970.

He became well known as defense secretary and minister, a post he held from 1970 to 1986.

While he was defense secretary, Enrile also served as an assemblyman for Cagayan from 1978 to 1986, before he finally served as senator in 1987.

Enrile's popularity soared when in 1986, as defense minister, he withdrew support for then President Ferdinand Marcos and helped plot a botched coup d'etat against the Marcos regime. Fearing for his life, he approached Ramos, who later sought help from influential church official, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

The Catholic leader then called on the public to secure the rebel leaders near Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, leading to the bloodless People Power revolt.

Enrile has continuously served in the legislative from the 8th to the 16th Congress, except during the 12th Congress (2001 to 2004).

He turned 92 last February.

But in 2014, Enrile, along with fellow senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, were indicted for plunder and graft in 2014. He has gained temporary liberty after posting a P1.45 million bail in 2015.