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.
“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.”
“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)?