TACLOBAN CITY- Political veteran Juan Ponce Enrile said that his ripe age,94, is something that does not bother him at all now that he is seeking for another possible Senate seat in this year’s midterm elections.
Enrile was in Eastern Visayas, particularly in Catbalogan City in Samar, and Tacloban City in Leyte on Friday to campaign.
During his speech on Friday night before a small group of his supporters, mostly local businessmen and city candidates held at the Romualdez-owned Patio Victoria, the former Senate president brushed off his age as a hindrance for him to win another Senate seat.
He said that if elected, he might just go down in the world’s political history as the oldest man ever elected into office, betting Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammad who is younger by a year.
“I am still strong and standing and fully aware of the political environment,” he said in his speech, debunking perceptions that his old age is catching him up.
Enrile was elected multiple times as a senator. The last time he was elected at the Senate was during the 2010 elections but failed to finish his six-year term as he was ousted from the Senate in 2014 after he was implicated in the pork barrel scam.
He was released on bail the following year due to health reason.
During his speech that lasted less than 15 minutes, Enrile enumerated the various Cabinet posts he held, particularly during the time of strongman Ferdinand Marcos and what he intend to do once elected like addressing poverty, security, and problems on communications and electricity.
Enrile, running as an independent candidate, if elected, would serve a six-year term and would stand down at the age of 100.
“I will be the oldest politician ever elected (and entered) the Guinness Book of World Records,” he said.
He, however, said that it’s not for this distinction why he is running saying that the country is still facing lots of problems that he could help address them.
“Nagawa ko na lahat ang dapat gawin pero ang bayan natin ay parang isang tao yan. Walang edad yan. It goes in time and it meets problems all the time as it marches into history. It is never without any problem in different magnitude,” he said.
According to him every Filipino who has something to contribute to the country should run for public office and help problems ailing the country.
“(But) if the people will not like me to participate, I will respect that and if they want me to contribute, I will do it,” he said.
Enrile, who is wearing a hearing aid, said that he is happy that in his barnstorming across the country, he gets warm welcome, to include among the millennials.
Asked why, he smiled and said perhaps they are intrigue why he is still running at his age.
“One thing I can tell you; the reaction of the people everywhere I go is very warm, just like here in Leyte and Samar. The young people are warmer to me,” Enrile said.
He also shrugged off various surveys showing out among possible losers, saying he never been surveyed in his entire life. (JOEY A. GABIETA)