Two versions of Enrile | Inquirer Opinion

Two versions of Enrile

/ 09:19 PM November 04, 2012

Juan Ponce Enrile’s memoir managed to rob martial law victims of something they have for so long been fighting for—justice. Those who endured the brutal years of martial law were even more aghast at Enrile’s deliberate attempt to reengineer our nation’s history in a TV special.

Both Enrile’s memoir and the ABS-CBN documentary took great efforts to paint the man in a most glorious light. The retellings essentially showed him distancing himself from the dictatorship which he himself helped to establish. He tried to cast himself as a victim and, later, a messiah. He denied having been one of the architects of martial law and, like Pontius Pilate, cleansed his hands by evading all accountability for all the crimes the Marcos regime committed. Instead of admitting responsibility, he passed the buck to Marcos. After all, why should Enrile share the blame with the dictator, President Marcos himself?

However, to assign to one person all the blame for such a tragedy would be to oversimplify history and reduce politics to the will of a single agent. History just does not work that way; politics, too. One man cannot by himself shackle, torture and plunder an entire nation. Marcos could not have made it to the top if not for the lieutenants beside, around and under him. He would not have been able to implement all his machinations if not for allies like General Fabian Ver and, not the least, Juan Ponce Enrile.


Another problem with Enrile’s attempt to “salvage” his image and libel his contemporaries is that those he blames as principals for the offense, in which he sees himself merely as an accessory, are all dead. For example, he took a swing at Marcos, Ver and even Ninoy Aquino as he attempted to have himself exonerated. All three could not possibly rise from their graves to defend themselves against his accusations or refute his denials. Such is the privilege of longevity, to be the last man to tell the story to one’s liking, and having no one there to belie it.


Thankfully, there are still those who have enough knowledge, memory and courage left to remember, and tell what they remember. The people who know about Enrile’s true role have not taken his imaginative storytelling sitting down. They are asking the question of whether he truly believes what he is saying, or he knows that he is passing off fiction for fact.

They remember that during the 1986 People Power revolt at Edsa, it was Enrile himself who confessed that his ambush in 1972 was staged to serve as a casus  belli for the declaration of martial law. In other words, he admitted that it was fake, and that he knew it was fake, and that he played along with that charade.

Curiously, the ABS-CBN documentary omitted his supposed ambush and his admission of its falsity altogether. Even so, it still came as a shock when 26 years after his confession, he recanted and maintained that the ambush was not staged. People were left wondering which version to believe: Enrile 1986 or Enrile 2012?—EDWARD FERNANDEZ DAYOG, Katarungan Youth

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TAGS: ambush, History, Juan Ponce Enrile, martial law, Philippines

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