Enrile and Prince de Tallyrand

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep. -Tallyrand

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord or Tallyrand was a French diplomat who was able to not only survive but flourish under the rule of Louis XVI, the French Revolution, Napoleon I; loiuse XVIII, Charles X and louis-Philippe. Aside from being a diplomat Tallyrand was a former priest and a polarizing figure in French History. Whatever one says of Tallyrand he was a survivor as his leaders fell – some to Madame Guillotine and one sent to exile he was constant at least in surviving. Of course as a plitician he was not alne in this talent, the Cecils survived beyond Elizabeth I and paved the way for the Scottish King James to be James I of England, an extraordinary task considering Elizabeth had James” mother – Mary Queen of Scots executed. Nor are they different for General Monck who help bring back Charles Stuart return after Cromwell died.

The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence. -Tallyrand

Is Juan Ponce Enrile or JPE the Philippines version of Tallyrand? Enrile was part of the government since the time of Marcos. At the time of the Declaration of Martial Law, he was then the Defense Secretary of Defense and Martial Law Administrator. After the fall of Marcos, Enrile by virtue of rebelling against Marcos was still the Defense Secretary but after the falling out and several putsches later, Enrile then reinvented himself as a congressman and then a Senator.

Like Tallyrand, Enrile was politically resilient, but aside from that he has proven to be a polarizing figure in Philippine history. A media man remembers an Enrile all dressed in black, making a mock sig heil salute and saying welcome to the office of the second most powerful Fascist in the country. Others would remember him flanked by Gringo Honasan as they entered Camp Crame in 1986. Still there are others who remember him as the Senator who used pre-paid cellphone account. Others would remember as the no-nonsense presiding Senator of the Impeachment Case of Chief Justice Corona. And recently as he tangled with another Senator, one could imagine veteran political observers mutter to themselves, never mess with Manong Johnny.

A great what ifs of history would be what would an Enrile presidency be like? Those who felt the full brunt of Martial Law would probably feel it would be just an extension of Marcosian politics and policy. Supporters from the Edsa Days and the Grand Alliance of Democracy would probably welcome a JPE Presidency. But we will never know.

Enrile like Tallyrand, the Cecils and the General Moncks of history will be known for their political resiliency. A figure surviving in the halls of powers.

To succeed in the world, it is much more necessary to possess the penetration to discern who is a fool, than to discover who is a clever man. -Tallyrand

This entry was posted in Opinion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply