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Reacting to skepticism that greeted controversial claims made by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile in his newly published book, the veteran politician supported an initiative by the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to establish a commission that would investigate the Martial Law years.
In an interview with news anchor Howie Severino on GMA News TV program “News To Go”, Enrile welcomed the investigation as he believes it would support the claims he made in his newly launched book, "Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir."
"I have all the records and I want the right of cross examination for anyone who will appear as a witness," he said.
"The commission that will be created should have full powers to compel the witnesses to testify and with the power of contempt," he added. “I will testify under oath. If I was guilty, at my age, I am willing to go to Muntinlupa."
One of the controversial claims made in Enrile’s memoir was his version of the infamous September 22, 1972 ambush.
Enrile said the attack on his convoy was indeed not "fake"—contrary to what he earlier disclosed during a press conference in 1986, when he and then Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos withdrew their support from then-President Ferdinand Marcos, triggering the first EDSA revolt.
"Let them show me any material tape, voice tape or written material that I faked my ambush," Enrile challenged.
"I said, the ambush was staged, but I did not say who staged it. I did not say that I staged it," he added.
Furthermore, Enrile insisted that the ambush was not needed to justify Martial Law.
"What did you think, I will park my car and shoot it? Oh come on, I've already issued the order [martial law] to the chief of staff," he said. "When I issued the order, it was irreversible. Martial Law was irreversible."
"He didn't need an ambush, my God! 10-81 - the proclamation was complete. Let them dispute the contents of proclamation 10-81. Even the Supreme Court of the Philippines took judicial notice of existence of the rebellion," he added.
At the height of the EDSA revolt, Corazon Aquino was set to assume the Presidency as she was about to take her oath at the Club Filipino.
However, it has been alleged that Enrile opposed this.
Enrile counters that he did not object to Cory's oath-taking. But rather he was concerned with security issues at the venue.
"No, no, I did not object. There was a request by the young officers for her to take her oath in Camp Crame because at the time, nobody knew that President Marcos was leaving the country, was going to give up, and the situation was still fluid," explained Enrile.
”The young people have an interest at that point because she was the visible leader of the revolution at that moment. She was the kalaban of Marcos in the snap election. She was the symbol of the opposition by the people," he added.
Informed of the apprehension, Mrs. Aquino still insisted on pushing through with the event at Club Filipino, according to Enrile.
‘Marcos offered me the government’
Enrile admitted that Marcos did offer to transfer power to him.
"President Marcos called me up and he was giving me the government. But I told him, ‘Too late, we have already committed ourselves to President Cory’," he said.
"Marcos wanted me to talk to Cory to postpone her oath-taking. And I said, I cannot do that. I said, I will try but I never really raised it with Mrs. Aquino because I thought it was improper," said Enrile. — Amanda Fernandez/DVM/HS, GMA News