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Celebrating the Centennial: JPE, a Stalwart Centenarian in Government

Today marks the 100th birthday celebration of Juan Valentin Furagganan Ponce Enrile, widely known as JPE, an influential figure in Philippine politics who has served as a former assemblyman, minister of defense, senator, congressman, and Senate president. Notably, he holds the record as the oldest and longest-serving public official, continuing his contributions to government affairs.

Born on February 14, 1924, JPE’s longevity and continued dedication to public service might earn him recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only centenarian actively engaged in government work.

JPE’s significant advocacy revolves around being a champion defender of the military and uniformed personnel (MUP) pension system. This cause, benefiting over 600,000 MUP members, both active and retired, as well as future generations and their families, remains an enduring testament to his commitment.

In his role as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, JPE publicly opposed the proposal to overhaul the MUP pension system by then-DOF secretary Benjamin Diokno in March 2023. His firm stance emphasized the unique challenges faced by soldiers, labeling their work as a gamble of life to protect the country.

Reflecting on past endeavors, JPE played a pivotal role in preventing the indefinite suspension of pension indexing through the enactment of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 2015. In a strategic move in 2015, he collaborated with fellow advocates, influencing Senate proceedings to reconsider the bill.

During a December 2015 brainstorming session at the Hotel Intercontinental, JPE’s vibrancy and sharp mind were evident as he discussed national interests in the West Philippine Sea, showcasing his exceptional intellect even at the age of 91.

In a different historical moment, JPE assumed the role of the 21st Senate president in November 2008, succeeding Manuel Villar Jr. During his tenure, he presided over the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, leaving an indelible mark on Philippine political history.

Despite his advanced age, JPE retains not only his legal acumen and skills but also his brilliance and mental acuity, unmatched by lawyers half his age.

Happy 100th birthday, Sir JPE! May you enjoy the centenarian “dole-out” and continue to inspire for many more years to come.

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