For those who were not yet born during Martial Law, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was a key figure in the history of Philippine politics. Acknowledged as the chief architect of Martial Law, Enrile played a huge role in the historic period that had us Lopezes go through severe hardships.
Last September 27, a variety of political icons and personalities gathered at The Peninsula Manila for the launch of his book entitled, Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir.
My father—Chairman emeritus of the Lopez Group of Companies, Oscar M. Lopez (OML) —shared a bit of interesting information in his speech during the said event. “For us in the Lopez family, it (the Martial Law era) was a traumatic experience that saw my brother Geny incarcerated, my father dying heart-broken in exile in San Francisco without seeing his son freed from jail, and our businesses from Meralco to ABS-CBN and the Manila Chronicle taken over or shut down. We lived like social outcasts for the next 14 years after that. People you thought were friends crossed to the other side of the street, afraid to be seen even momentarily with a Lopez.”
Lopez Group Chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez
In hindsight, those dark times only proved how enduring the resiliency of the spirit of the Lopez family is, with the help, of course, of the values that had always guided our actions.
Many have asked why we chose to support Senator Enrile, and my father always shares an honest response for each. “Johnny and I have had our public differences through the years as we played our respective roles in government and the private sector. Some harsh words have sometimes been said. But we have always respected each other and taken nothing personally from all those vigorous exchange of views,” he says. “As to why ABS-CBN is publishing Johnny’s book, I know Gabby made that decision in the exercise of a media entity’s obligation to present as many sides as it possibly can, on matters, events, or to anything that is of public interest.”
It all boils down to respect, integrity, and the obligation to serve the public nothing but the truth, in every perspective available, especially in matters of national interest.
Despite everything that happened, public service is still a key aspect that the Lopez Group hold integral and ever present in most, if not all, our ventures. A man of irrefutable strength, Senator Enrile’s legacy will forever be etched in the pages of his memoir—something that will grant present and future generations a guide, a source of life’s important lessons which they can use in order to advance without repeating the mistakes of the past.
With that, I would like to end this post by sharing a phrase that President Noynoy Aquino said during the launch: “Being exposed to opposing views is the hallmark of a true democracy.” This is something I would interpret as the importance of equal presentation of the whole truth, which will lead to a much clearer understanding of things towards a healthier formation of views and decisions.
Thank you and God bless.
The full text of OML’s remarks at Enrile’s book launch can be read here.