Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will most likely be the oldest political hopeful in next year’s mid-term elections.
Enrile, 94, will lead the familiar faces trying to make a return to the Senate after his representative filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday on the same day reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino and comebacking former Senators Mar Roxas, Pia Cayetano and Jinggoy Estrada also submitted their CoC.
They will be joining Senators Koko Pimentel, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Lito Lapid and JV Ejercito in seeking reaffirmation from the voters to return to the Senate.
Newcomers who have caught their followers’ fancy are recently resigned Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and former Police Chief Ronaldo de la Rosa.
Enrile’s announcement of his candidacy, however, stole the thunder from all post seekers on Tuesday.
Enrile was considered semi-retired from politics after bowing out of the Senate on 30 June 2016, the day President Rodrigo Duterte took his oath.
Enrile, however, surprised everyone when he announced a fourth attempt at a Senate slot after serving from 1987-1992, from 1995- 2001 and then again from 2004-2016.
Enrile was Senate President from 2008-2013 when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now the House Speaker, was President.
Enrile’s CoC was filed by his law associates, although his paper contained a minor flaw when it stated that he was a “businesswoman.”
The filing of his CoC, however, was made without fanfare, although his announcement of his candidacy threw every other political stunt off their tracks.
“I already issued special power of attorney to my lawyers to file the CoC on my behalf,” Enrile told Daily Tribune. “No fanfare. I just want to offer myself again to our people.”
If Enrile wins anew and he finishes on top with the “upper six” of 12 winners, he would be 100 years old when he ends his term in 2025. He could also be the first active centenarian lawmaker in the world.
Enrile said he will devote his next term to dealing with the country’s problems on security, energy and politics.
“I still want to join the debates,” said Enrile, who also served as Defense Minister/ Secretary to Presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino, assemblyman and congressman, secretary of justice, secretary of finance and as a lawyer.
Despite earlier claims of disinterest, losing presidential hopeful Roxas came the earliest among the named politicians. He will be running under the banner of the Liberal Party, the same group with which he launched his former presidential bid.
This was after he said he would run as an independent candidate.
Estrada also filed his CoC on Tuesday. He was accompanied by his father, former President and reelectionist Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Estrada is facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. He is out on bail.
The younger Estrada served the Senate from 2005-2007 and was reelected on 2010-2016.
Estrada, however, will be running against half-brother JV Ejercito, a reelectionist senator.
The elder Estrada served long as mayor of the City of San Juan from 1969-1986 before he joined Enrile as the only opposition winners in the Senate in 1987.
He won the vice presidency in 1992 and then the presidency in 1998 only to be ousted by “People Power” in 2001. He was jailed by Macapagal-Arroyo on charges of graft and plunder before he won as Manila mayor in 2013 and in 2016.
Another prominent figure to file her CoC was Imee Marcos, daughter of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who is seeking to win the Senate seat vacated by brother Bongbong, who opted not to run in hopes of winning his electoral protest against Leni Robredo for the vice presidency.
Marcos will vacate her post as Ilocos Norte governor which Imelda will try to win along with a grandson who will be her runningmate for the vice governor’s post.
Imee vowed to advance Federalism.
She shared the limelight with Bam Aquino, grandson of her father’s political nemesis Ninoy Aquino, father of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino. Bam said he sees the next polls as a “tougher race” as he is out of the so-called “magic numbers” in most surveys.
Biking her way to the Comelec’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, Cayetano will seek another term after her Senate stints from 2004 and 2010.
Cayetano shrugged questions concerning political dynasties, using her family as an example.
She said she believes personal competence should be the basis of voters in electing their officials and not their names. Cayetano is among the few candidates to have received endorsement from Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, the President’s daughter.
Her brother, Alan Peter Cayetano, resigned as foreign affairs secretary to bid as her successor as Taguig congressman.
Lorenzo “Erin” Reyes Tañada III will be carrying a familiar name as his grandfather Lorenzo Martinez Tañada, Sr. and father Wigberto Tañada also served the Senate in the past.