MANILA - If elected again, Juan Ponce Enrile will start a fresh 6-year term at the Senate at 95 years old.
But the former defense chief, among the most enduring figures in Philippine politics, sought to dispel talk that he was no longer fit to run for public office, personally filing his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections on Wednesday.
He walked steadily, held a smile, and said he was "ready to answer all questions." He, however, asked reporters to come closer and speak slowly during his press conference.
Enrile, on trial for plunder over his alleged role in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, said he has felt healthier since the Supreme Court granted him bail in 2016.
The high court had granted him temporary liberty while on trial for non-bailable charges, citing humanitarian reasons given his advanced age. He was detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame for over a year.
"When I was in Camp Crame, I was really physically immobile because I was confined, I could not exercise. If I stayed there until today, maybe I am dead now," he told reporters.
"Every month I go home to my province. It added to my stamina that's why I still stand today, can still walk erect," he said.
Without giving specific names, the former Senate President said in jest he may even outlive some of the incumbent senators.
"I'm not saying that I'm immortal, but only God knows," he said smiling.
Enrile, born in 1924, earlier claimed that he was the only living senator who witnessed all administrations "from Aguinaldo to Duterte."
Asked of his "secret" to long life, Enrile said: "I hope I will reach 110 years old, but in life, you cannot control the number of years. Only God can control it."
When asked if his doctors approved of his bid for a Senate comeback, Enrile said: "My blood pressure is 120/60."
He said he has more to offer even after his decades-long service in government.
"I have studied [the] federalism [draft] in-depth from the preamble to section 22, word by word, phrase by phrase. There remains inconsistencies, gaps in it," he said of the proposal for the shift to a federal form of government.
Though eager to return to the Senate, Enrile said he has no plans to gun for the presidency in the future.
"No more. That's too much. To be president is a heartbreaking choice," he said.