Marcos picks Enrile as Presidential Legal Counsel

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2022 09:38 AM | Updated as of Jun 17 2022 11:15 AM

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile during a meeting in Makati. Courtesy of Vic Rodriguez
Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile during a meeting in Makati. Courtesy of Vic Rodriguez

MANILA (UPDATE) — President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has chosen former senator Juan Ponce Enrile as his presidential legal adviser, the incoming chief executive’s camp said Friday.

The veteran lawmaker has accepted the position, incoming Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.

Enrile said he would “devote [his] time and knowledge for the republic and for BBM because [he] wants him to succeed.”

The 98-year-old Enrile served as justice secretary and defense minister under the administration of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the father and namesake of the incoming president.

Enrile is also known as the architect and implementer of martial law, a period that saw thousands of human rights abuses against activists and critics of the Marcos Sr. administration.

Enrile eventually led a military mutiny that led to the February 1986 EDSA People Power revolution, which toppled Marcos Sr. and installed Corazon Aquino into the presidency. 

Enrile then served as Aquino's defense chief. But she fired him in November 1986 after a failed coup by his followers, involvement in which he denied. 

He later served as Senate President and presided over the impeachment trial of late Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

PEACEFUL MARTIAL LAW?

In a 2018 tête-à-tête with Marcos Jr., Enrile said millennials were misinformed about the dictator's rule.

Enrile claimed that the country was "peaceful" during the first years of martial law and denied killings and arrests of dissidents. He said government forces only executed a Chinese drug lord and arrested only those who violated the law.

This was refuted by many rights activists and martial law detainees.

In November 2021, Enrile's family endorsed Marcos Jr's Malacañang bid. 

In the run-up to the May 9 elections, Enrile downplayed the estate tax issues that hounded the Marcos family and volunteered to defend the dictator's heirs in any court.

A Supreme Court ruling showed that the Marcoses' estate tax assessment of P23 billion was "final and executory". That liability has ballooned to P203 billion due to penalties and interests.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue in a written demand asked the Marcos family to settle their estate tax liability.

— With a report from Agence France-Presse

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