ENDORSEMENT. Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (seated, right) raises the hand of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to signify his endorsement of the latter's candidacy for president, amid cheers from Cagayano leaders and supporters on Tuesday (Feb. 14, 2022). With them is Enrile's daughter Katrina (in black dress). (PNA photo by Villamor Visaya Jr.)

By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency Stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent

TUGUEGARAO CITY – Amid cheers from supporters, presidential aspirant Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM), hugged and rubbed elbows anew with former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who endorsed him on Monday as the country’s next top leader.

Enrile celebrated his 98th birthday on Valentine’s Day with a crowd of about 3,000 people at their family-owned Jaka compound in Carig Norte village here.

He was instrumental in toppling the administration of BBM’s father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whom he served for most of his political life more than three decades ago.

Enrile raised the hand of Bongbong, who is seeking to follow in the footsteps of his father, amid cheers from Cagayano leaders and supporters.

“Let us welcome our next President from the North. Cagayanos will be all-out for him,” he said.

Enrile was with his 61-year-old daughter Katrina, who is aligned with the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), as congressional representative of the first district of Cagayan. Also with them was incumbent Board Member Perla Tumaliuan, provincial president of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) party chaired by the younger Marcos.

Marcos is hoping to gain the bulk of support in Cagayan province, which has 748,595 registered voters for the May 9 national and local elections.

“I thought I came here for the birthday celebration of my Senate president when I was a senator. I came here for a surprise,” Marcos said, adding that the elder Enrile has been influential in the country’s political circle.

He said he would “slowly” work to bring jobs and focus on tourism development, among others, if elected as president.#