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Enrile turns 95 on Valentine’s Day; says ‘kaya pa’

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By Mario Casayuran

At 95, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is the oldest senatorial candidate for the upcoming midterm May 13, 2019 elections.

‘’Kaya pa,’’ Enrile said during the kick-off rally of the political campaign in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan with United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidates.

Juan Ponce Enrile   (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

Juan Ponce Enrile (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

The former Senate Chief posed for photos, waved to the crowd, and gave an energetic speech prior to his 95th birthday Thursday.

He assured the public that he would be able to complete the usual round of demanding campaign rallies.

“Pwede pa naman akong maglakad ng dalawang kilometro [araw-araw],” the former Senator said in a separate interview, citing that he continues to walk at least 2,000 steps per day as part of his fitness regimen. (I can walk two kilometers daily).

Enrile said he also takes to swimming in the ocean to sustain his physique, especially in his home province of Cagayan where he would stay for one week to swim “even with a strong current”.

For his diet, Enrile maintains a loose food regimen and has previously mentioned that one of his secrets in fighting ageing is regular consumption of the vegetable saluyot or jute leaves as well as minimal rice intake of not more than one cup per meal.

“I eat lechon, chicharon, adobo, pork chop, and bagnet,” he said in an interview, adding, “Ang iniiwasan ko lang yung mga may uric acid. I am not diabetic, but I’m prone to [build-up of] uric acid [yet still] I eat monggo with dahon ng ampalaya with chicharon.” (I avoid foods rich with uric acid. I’m not diabetic but I am prone to build up uric acid, yet I eat beans with leaves of bitter melon with chicharon.)

He has also stopped smoking but continues to drink small quantities of alcohol. He had said that his friends who did not stop smoking are long gone.

According to Enrile, he uses a “smartwatch” to monitor different aspects of his health to include his heartbeat, calorific consumption, and exercise duration.

The former Defense Minister and Justice Secretary during the Marcos years will become a “centenarian” in office if he succeeds to secure a slot in the Senate ‘Magic 12’ this 2019.

He also has taken to other hi-tech devices to keep his mind sharp.

“I do not get idle. I write my own stories, my own thoughts in the computer. I do Facebook conversations and so forth,’’ he said.

During a recent talk with Senate reporters, Enrile fired off easily few stanzas from ‘’Rubaiyat,’’ a poem of Omar Khayyam.

Enrile’s voracious appetite of reading at least 50 pages of a book per day has also kept him abreast of the latest issues across different topics and industries – including cryptocurrency.

“There are already more than 500 types of cryptocurrencies floating in the world. It is now a market – a cryptocurrency exchange. It is unregulated but many jurisdictions are starting to impose regulations. We’ll have to do it in here, and I intend to attend to this when I go to the Senate,” the elder statesman shared during that interview.

This issue, as well as many others that the country is facing, prodded him to throw his hat in the Senate race.

“Marami ang problema ng bayan na dapat pagtulung-tulungan ng may kaalaman at may karanansan. Hindi ako tumatakbo para sa akin. Ako’y tumatakbo para sa bayan natin, para makatulong, para i-prepara ang ating bansa para sa mga kabataan na magmamana ng ating bayan,” he said. (There are many problems of the nation that needs to be resolved by those with intellect. I am not running for myself but for the Philippines and for the youth who will inherit the country.)

Enrile has earlier stated that he intends to campaign on a platform of more jobs for Filipinos, lower taxes, more stable supply of energy, and better services for consumers in the telecommunications (telco) industry.

Enrile has served for exactly 50 years as a government official.

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