Sunday, February 27, 2011

Enrile, De Venecias, Lim

Recently, fellow columnist Brando Cortez told me to come pronto at Lenox Hotel for a meeting with Rep. Jack Enrile (1st District, Province of Cagayan).

Enrile, who was “barnstorming” the country, discussed to us food security and the prohibitive interest rates of credit cards.

He was game in answering questions posed by passionate selected media colleagues that I only asked a single question, and a clarification.

But after the meeting, I told him that it’s a coincidence that I met him.

“The other day, I was hooked up to the wee hours reading at the internet the compiled columns at Philippine Folio of Larry Henares when I came across a certain  Juanito Furruganan.

“Ah, si Daddy. Iyan ang dating pangalan niya sa Gonzaga,” he smiled as his eyes sparkled.

“The (1990) article blew me away; have you read that scintillating piece?”I posed.

“No, but I heard it,” he retorted.

“I told him that I even posted it at the internet’s social networking Face Book for parents to ask their children to read it so they can strive for greater heights someday,” I said.

Here are some of the excerpts of that column titled “The Humble Roots of Johnny E”:

“In a small barrio in the sleepy coastal town of Gonzaga in the province of Cagayan, he was born and baptized Juanito Furruganan, son of a peasant woman called Petra Furruganan.

Juanito went to Aparri for his high school. He was good in math, wanted to be a scientist, and earned extra money by tutoring the daughter of one of the richest men in town. Rich bullies, consumed by jealousy, beat him up within an inch of his life.”

“He complained to the authorities who advised him to forget the incident, or get thrown out of town. He felt outraged and betrayed; and it was this sense of injustice that induced him to abandon science and take up law.”
“He had not met his father who in turn did not even know he existed. Juanito decided to go to Manila and confront his father. To raise the transportation money, he worked as a road construction laborer and a fisherman. Finally at the age of 19, he came to Manila.”
“I knew his father, one of the best corporate lawyers of his day, Don Alfonso Ponce Enrile. He came to the house one day with his son Chito, and asked me to help get his son into MIT where I was then recently graduated. He was a good friend of President Manuel L. Quezon who induced him to run and serve as Assemblyman in the province of Cagayan. It was in one of his campaign sorties that he met Petra Furruganan.”                               
“One look at Juanito Furruganan and Don Alfonso Ponce Enrile knew this was his son. He is the spitting image of his father, he has the same broad toothy smile, lined cheeks, rough-hewn Castilian features, and most of all an unruly lock of hair that kept falling down his brow, and another that kept standing up at the back of his head.”
“He was a chip off the old block if there ever was one, and Don Alfonso, a gentle person ever a gentleman, took him in as his son, made him work in the law firm, and sent him to the best schools, Ateneo, U.P. Law School and Harvard. “
“His name is now Juan Ponce Enrile. He was already 28 years of age when he passed the bar, and became a successful lawyer. One day, Rafael Salas recruited him to campaign for Marcos, and the rest is history.”

With a dexterous political guidance of provincial king maker Abono Party Chieftain Rosendo So, Jack the son of a peasant from Gonzaga, Cagayan would unsurprisingly see himself in 2013 poll  catapulted to the August Chamber of the Senate in lieu of his graduating maverick father. Then he could continue the family’s sterling legacy of pro-people legislations and meticulous investigations in aid of legislation.

Am I right Tess (PR woman of Jack, who used to work with then Senator Mar Roxas and then presidential wannabe Chiz Escudero)?


After my Enrile meeting, I jumped to my car and traversed the highway bound to the palatial mansion of the de Venecias at the coastal side of the Lingayen Gulf.

Former Speaker Joe has just drafted a letter that he told me he would be sending to the Ambassador of Libya in the Philippines. In that letter the rabble-rousing veteran politician told me that members of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) where he chaired would be resigning unless Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi resigned pronto if he would not create a national unity government.

“Ala-rainbow coalition during the Ramos Administration,” I quipped to the speaker who was the father of that Coalition and the amazing Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT).

Speaker Joe showed me the members of the ICAPP who are the “who’s who” of global politics.

But what intrigued me was when his staff gave me a photo copy of an article about the birthday bash of his lovely spouse Congresswoman Gina.

Pictures in that article published at the society’s section of the Philippine Star showed Manay Gina rubbing elbows with presidential sisters Viel Dee, Ballsy Cruz, and Pinky Abellada at Manay’s parental Vera-Perez Gardens in Valencia.

“With you being close to the Aquino sisters, does it mean more development funds for the 4th congressional district? Since they can intercede for their brother to release some presidential funds,” I posed to Congresswoman de Venecia.

Manay Gina was all smiles.  She told me as long a she treks the “Matuwid na Daan (Straight Line, and the campaign battle cry of President Noynoy Aquino)”her district can expect backing from the president.”

If the Speaker is known as a renowned coalition builder all over the world, what was his take on the factionalized politics between Dagupan City Mayor Benjie S. Lim, and Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez (and the majority members of the city council) as their dichotomy undermined Dagupenos that cost them a stalled 2011 city budget. This query was asked by columnist Ronel de Vera, one of the few English breathing media Mohicans in a press conference, to the speaker.

JDV said that he does not meddle in the ” seemingly acrimonious” politics of Dagupan, but prays that Benjie and Belen sit and talk with each other to thresh all those problems that haunts the city.
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