Incoming presidential legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile has tested positive for COVID-19 and will skip the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., he said Monday via a Facebook post.
Enrile also addressed his “critics and enemies,” saying they should not “clap with glee” because he would survive his condition.
The former Senate President and Defense secretary said he has already informed the Marcos camp he would not attend the oath-taking slated for Thursday at the National Museum in Manila.
The 98-year-old is currently being treated at the Makati Medical Center.
“Since three days ago after I entered Makati Med. when I was diagnosed ‘positive’ for COVID virus,” Enrile said.
“I never had any discomfort. No chills. No fever. No headache. No malaise. My body temperature ranges from 36 [degrees] to 36.8. My body oxygen ranges from 96 to 99. All my physical vital signs and blood chemistry readings were normal. The only thing I had was a dry intermittent, sometimes intense, coughing. The CT-SCAN showed that I had mild COVID-19 pneumonia,” he said.
“I informed the Executive Secretary the Hon. Victor E. Rodriguez, about it and requested him to inform the President and ask him that I be excused from attending the oathtaking ceremonies of the President and the Vice President on June 30th at noon because I will still be in the hospital by then to complete the Anti-viral regimen prescribed by my doctors,” he added.
“I am not going to die yet. Far from it. God gave me very good doctors. He wants me, I humbly think, to stay here for some time more to engage you to help clear and clean up, if possible, your distorted narrative of our history for the benefit of the uninformed innocent people,” he said.
The veteran lawmaker, who was former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s defense minister during the Martial Law years, was a staunch supporter of Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte during the 2022 elections.
He announced his retirement from politics in 2016.
Enrile had served in the government in various roles for the past 50 years, including interim Secretary of Finance from 1966 to 1968,
Justice secretary from 1968 to 1970, and Minister of National Defense from 1972 to 1986.
He became the 21st Senate president during the 15th Congress from 2008 to 2013.