He may well be the indispensable politician of the last 30 or even 40 years; without Juan Ponce Enrile, many of the most significant events in our recent history do not make sense. As one of Marcos’ whiz kids in the 1960s, martial law administrator in the 1970s, Imelda Marcos’s rival in the 1980s; as Edsa mutineer, coup plotters’ inspiration, successful non-Cory Candidate for the Senate during the immediate post-Marcos years; as one of Ramos’s marriageable political non-virgins and alleged chief beneficiary of dagdag-bawas in the 1990s; as "lay the predicate" impeachment trial senator-judge and born-again anti-PPA candidate in the first years of the 21st century — Manong Johnny has either shared center stage or could be heard ominously in the wings, in the melodrama that is Philippine politics.
Yesterday, he formally severed his ties with the Senate minority, declared himself an independent, and then announced a "working coalition" with the expanded (but divided) Senate majority. How many of us, upon hearing the news, got the spooky, familiar sense that, somehow, Enrile had positioned himself once again to play a prominent role in yet another political crisis?
To think he’s only in his eighties.