Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada. Tick off the names, and every political dynasty—but one—was represented at the launch of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s memoir, which was so well-attended it caused horrendous traffic on Makati and Ayala Avenues in Makati Thursday night.
The high-profile affair at Peninsula Manila brought together the country’s most powerful, many of whom—as the political tides changed—were once either close allies or bitter enemies.
“Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir” is “simply my own rendition of what I know to be true because I was there, and I lived through and survived all these events,” the 88-year-old senator said. A true survivor, he has prevailed in six political administrations through five decades.
Enrile broke down as he recalled his humble beginnings as a son out of wedlock of a housemaid and a prominent lawyer.
“As I struggled toward the steep and difficult ascent to social recognition, I had to surmount the almost impregnable barriers of poverty and ignorance,” he said. “The pain and despair of the oppressed, I knew only too well, for I was one of them.”
President Aquino, whom Enrile presented the first copy of his book, gave a speech and stayed throughout the event, which lasted for some three hours.
“I am truly humbled that in spite of my rather colorful political encounters with the martyred Benigno C. Aquino Jr. and the much-admired icon of democracy, the late President Corazon C. Aquino, the President has so kindly looked at this book just for what it is—a personal account of my beginnings and my experiences as I traversed many crossroads along my way,” Enrile said.
Apart from government, high society, business movers and the diplomatic community were represented. The top management of ABS-CBN, which published the book, was also present. Nelson Navarro edited the memoir.
Oscar M. Lopez, chair emeritus of First Philippine Holdings and patriarch of the clan, and Vice President Jejomar Binay delivered speeches.
Former President Joseph Estrada, who also took to the podium, had the audience giggling as he acknowledged his “one and only wife,” former Sen. Loi Ejercito, in the audience.
Enrile’s wife, Cristina, entertained guests with a performance of the Portuguese song “Manha de Carnaval,” and Rodger and Hammestein’s “If I Loved You” in a duet with daughter Katrina. Son Jackie, who’s running for senator, also gave a speech.
“Everybody was friendly with one another,” a guest noted the vibes of the social mix.
While Imelda Marcos was spotted lining up to buy a copy of the book, the Arroyos were conspicuously unrepresented in the multipolitical-color event.