Loren Legarda, 62, is a broadcast journalist, environmentalist and legislator who has served in Congress for more than 30 years. She is also an advocate for a variety of causes including the promotion of Philippine culture and the arts.
After almost two decades in broadcast journalism, Legarda was first elected to the Senate in 1998 where she would serve a total of three non-consecutive terms in the Senate until 2019. There, she principally authored several laws including the Climate Change Act of 2019, the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act.
She also made two failed bids for the vice presidency: the first in 2004 when she ran in a tandem with presidential aspirant Fernando Poe Jr., who passed away that same year, and again in 2010 with former Senator Manny Villar.
In 2019, Legarda ran to represent the lone District of Antique and won. She currently serves as a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
Legarda is seeking to return to the Senate under the three separate slates of the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson.
She is campaigning on employment regeneration and green pandemic recovery, and pointed to the development of Antique in a little more than two years as a model for such recovery. She also called on presidential candidates to adopt a climate and environmental agenda that incorporates the concerns for both issues as the Philippines strives to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic through improved health services and job creation.
Legarda supports the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill, the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, and the legalization of divorce.
The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any
- Regain the nation’s economy through existing government programs: DOLE’s Pangkabuhayan, DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, DTI’s Shared Service Facilities, DOST’s Community Empowerment thru Science & Technology, and others
- Upgrading health facilities
- Health recovery through vaccines
On Jan. 29, 2020, as House Deputy Speaker, called for a select and temporary travel ban to Antique amid the initial COVID-19 outbreak. In a privilege speech in the House of Representatives in February 2020, she also raised the possible connection between unsustainable use of wildlife for food and COVID-19 and called for the necessary changes and additional effort to regulating the trade in wildlife resources to prevent future public health crises
In April 2021, she recommended the hiring of DOLE TUPAD workers to act as contact tracers, giving displaced workers a source of income and allow them to assist in curbing local transmission of COVID-19 infections
- Pass the Pangkabuhayan bill to ensure that more Filipinos are given the opportunity to start their own livelihood and be financially independent
- Pass amendments to the Public Employment Service Office, to include entrepreneurship and to strengthen local government units by establishing the Barangay Employment and Entrepreneurship Service Office to facilitate employment matching at the barangay level
Co-authored the establishment of the Public Employment Service Office in all capital towns, key cities, and other strategic areas nationwide, via Republic Act No. 8759
- Pushing for the One Tablet, One Student Act that would provide each student resources to cope with the blended learning system
- Upgrading of the salary of public school teachers from entry level Salary Grade 11 to 15
- Focus on addressing segregation of waste at source, recycling, and composting.
- Build awareness of the laws that protect the environment. (exp; Mining Act)
- Urged households to start the solution at their homes in addressing waste disposal issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Has campaigned on a “green platform of governance” throughout her political career, including her 2009 bid for the vice presidency
- In February 2020, she supported the ban on single use plastics imposed by the DENR
- In February 2020, she hailed the passage of an ordinance entitled “Provincial Ban on New Coal-Fired Power Plants” by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Antique, citing the need to reduce harmful emissions and pursue sustainable development mechanisms to protect the environment and safeguard the health of Antiquenos
The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so
Legarda has served three non-consecutive terms in the Senate. In her first term as a senator, she co-authored several environmental laws, beginning a multi-decade legislative agenda encompassing promotion of education, Indigenous People’s rights, Philippine culture, women's and children's rights, health, and environment protection.
By her own staff's count, Legarda in total has passed 115 laws and filed 950 bills.
During the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada, who was accused of amassing about P240 million from public funds and receiving bribes from jueteng lords, Legarda and 9 senators were outvoted by 11 senators, leaving unopened an envelope allegedly containing incriminating evidence against the president. In protest, the prosecution panel walked out of the impeachment court, which triggered the street demonstrations dubbed as EDSA II and eventually led to President Estrada’s resignation on Jan. 20, 2001.
Legarda vied for the vice presidency in the 2004 elections but lost to Noli de Castro. She filed an electoral protest on July 23, 2004, citing “erroneous, if not manipulated, and falsified results in the final canvass documents” in certain provinces. She appealed after the Presidential Electoral Tribunal initially dismissed her petition but the PET dismissed Legarda’s protest, for lack of legal and factual basis. The PET also ruled that she had abandoned or withdrawn such protest when she ran for and won in the 2007 elections and assumed her office as a senator.
In 2010, she again made a bid for the vice presidency, running alongside Sen. Villar. They lost their races, but questions about the 2004 results resurfaced in 2011 after Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Piimentel III successfully won his electoral protest of Miguel Zubiri’s 2007 proclaimed victory.
Legarda continued to serve in the Senate for two consecutive terms in 2007 to 2013 and 2013 to 2019. In her three terms in the Senate, Legarda principally authored the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the amendatory law that provided financing for the People’s Survival Fund Act of 2012.
Concurrent to her tenure in the Senate, Legarda also participated in negotiations for the release of kidnapped military and police officers in 1999 and 2001 with members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, and with members of the Abu Sayyaf group for the release of journalists in 2002 and 2008.
In September 2011, she also launched the Disaster Preparedness and First Aid Handbook, accomplished by the Senate committee on climate change during her tenure as chairperson. She also convened the Regional Forum on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Greater Metro Manila area in March 2012.
Legarda also took a particular interest in treaty concurrence, one of the Senate’s exclusive functions. She was part of the special Philippine delegation to the French Senate in discussions for the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, aiming to formalize greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and funding from the year 2020. In April 2016, she co-head the Philippine delegation to the high-level signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement in New York, United States. In 2017, she helped secure the Senate;s unanimous concurrence in the accession to the Paris Agreement.
In late May 2013, after she voted to convict then SC Chief Justice Renato Corona during his 2012 impeachment trial, Legarda was assailed for underdeclarations and discrepancies in the value of her condominium unit in New York in the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth she had filed from 2007 to 2011. She was also accused of failing to disclose her ownership of a Balinese-style mansion in Forbes Park. Two graft cases were filed against her by public interest advocate Louis “Barok” Biraogo in 2013.
At the end of her second consecutive term in the Senate, Legarda ran to represent the lone District of Antique in 2019. Her candidacy was opposed by her political opponents, citing her failure to meet the one-year residency requirement. Such petitions were dismissed and Legarda won in a landslide.
As Antique’s lone representative, Legarda filed at least 260 bills she principally authored. She was also named as one of the deputy speakers for the 18th Congress.
Public Office Achievements
Principal author and co-sponsor of R.A. No. 9726 in the Senate, 2009 -2009
Co-author and co-sponsor of R.A. No. 10174, 2011-2012
Approved by the president on Oct.. 23, 2009 and on Aug. 16, 2012
Principal author in the Senate, 2018-2019
Approved by the president on Apr. 12, 2019
Principal author in the Senate, 2017-2018
Approved by the president on June 22, 2018
Principal author in the Senate, 2015
Approved by the president on Oct. 15, 2015
Principal author and co-sponsor in the Senate, 2011-2013
Approved by the president on June 19,2013
Legarda began her journalistic career in the early 1980s, eventually becoming one of the anchors of the World Tonight and her own public affairs show, the Inside Story.
Even during her political career, Legarda continued to develop and host several TV series and documentaries such as “Ulan sa Tag-Araw: Isang Dokyu-drama Ukol sa Pagbabago ng Klima” (Rains in the Summer: A Documentary Drama on Climate Change), “Ligtas Likas” , “Buhos” (Downpour), “Philippine Marine Biodiversity”, and “Antique: Coral Restoration Program”. She also hosted the Dayaw series; Our Fragile Earth: Protected Areas of the Philippines” series, the first ever documentary series focused on the protected areas of the Philippines; and the Buhay na Buhay series, which focused on eight living sub-cultures of Filipino culture.
Alongside her legislative work, Legarda also focused on promoting sustainable development. She founded Luntiang Pilipinas as part of her advocacy for environmental conservation, leading campaigns to plant millions of trees nationwide since 1998. She is also a frequent resource speaker and delegate to climate conferences. Legarda also integrated her advocacy for Philippine culture and the arts with promotion of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In November 2013, she led the Philippine delegation to UNESCO’s 37th General Conference, promoting intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace.
Private Sector Achievements
- In 2018, head of the Philippine delegation at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum
- In 2015, appointed by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction as Global Champion for Resilience
- Founding member in 2012, Global Advisory Group of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction
- Co-convenor in 2008 of the Roundtable Consultative Meeting for Parliamentarians, with the UNISDR, which espouses disaster risk reduction as a tool for climate change adaptation
- Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2008, by the UNISDR
- Participant, Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, the BBC World Debate: ‘Prevent or React’, and the Forum on the Human Impact of Climate Change in Geneva, Switzerland
- In September 2020, appointed as ambassador for parliaments by the Climate Vulnerable Forum
- In November 2017, presented as National Adaptation Plan Champion designated by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
- In 2017 to 2019, head of the Philippine delegations, UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany
- Co-chair, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment Philippines
- Chair, Climate Vulnerable Forum, involving 20 climate vulnerable countries
- Commissioner in 2018, Global Commission on Adaptation
- Senior Adviser in 2013, Ocean Security International
- Founding Chair in 2011 of the Asia Pacific Institute for Green Development
- Member of the Philippine delegation, 2009 Copenhagen Summit
Produced or supported the following shows:
- ● Finding Rizal in the Time of Barriers (2021)
● Our Fragile Earth
● Buhay na Buhay
Hosted the following shows:
● Real Stories
● Inside Story
● PEP Talk
● World Tonight
Actions and/or proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information
Pending Actions and/or Proceedings
|Subject Matter||Relevant Dates||Potential Liability||Status|
|Two complaints for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
Both filed by public interest advocate Louis “Barok” Biraogo accusing Legarda of failure to declare in her 2007 to 2011 SALNs:
Legarda insisted that she declared both properties in her SALN; media reports noted discrepancies in the valuation of such properties in the SALNs themselves and public records.
On June 6, 2013, the Department of Justice turned over for action the graft complaint filed against Legarda to the Office of the Ombudsman
|Maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of graft|
Filed by Anti-Trapo Movement against then-Sen. Legarda, after a 25-year franchise was granted to Solar Para sa Bayan Corporation, which is owned by her son, Leandro Leviste.
ATM stated that Legarda is not allowed to have a direct or indirect interest in a franchise granted by the government; her abstention from the vote granting said franchise to Solar did not matter. The group claimed that her Senate staff followed up on the progress of the application in the House committee on legislative franchises.
|Ethics complaint filed before the Senate committee on ethics and privileges in December 2018|
Resolved Actions and/or Proceedings
|Subject Matter||Relevant Dates||Accrued Liability||Status|
Two disqualification cases were filed by Robin Rubinos and Exequiel Javier, who were running against Legarda in the 2019 race for Antique’s lone district, claiming that Legarda had not complied with the requirement of residing in the district for at least one year before election day
The validity of the transfer of her voter registration to Barangay Mag-aba, Pandan, Antique was also challenged before the Election Registration Board
|Two disqualification cases filed with COMELEC 2nd Division
Petition for Exclusion filed with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Pandan-Libertad-Caluya, Antique
|MCTC dismissed the petition for exclusion.
The ERB upheld the transfer of Legarda’s voter registration to Brgy. Mag-aba, Pandan, Antique in October 2018
COMELEC dismissed the petitions on Feb. 6, 2019, ruling that Legarda had not misrepresented her period of residency in her certificate of candidacy and she had sufficiently presented facts establishing her residency in Antique
|Disbarment case filed by Michael James Blendell against Roque and his law firm, in connection with the failure by the firm’s lawyer to promptly transfer the shares of a condo unit and parking space at a Parañaque property to the buyer of the properties||Sale occurred in 2002
Complaint filed on May 29, 2017
|On Dec. 6, 2021, the SC dismissed the case for lack of merit; the complaint failed to identify the specific provisions of the Rules of Court, Lawyer’s Oath or the Code of Professional Responsibility the law firm allegedly violated|
Also known as SALN, this document is a declaration of one's personal finances. Philippine Law requires the SALN to be submitted by all public officials and employees to the Ombudsman. Public officials and employees may opt to voluntarily disclose their SALN to the public.
* As of Dec. 31, 2018
Key details about the candidate's campaign
Alliances and Endorsements:
- Included in the UniTeam senatorial slate of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte
- Included in the senatorial slate of Manny Pacquiao
- A guest candidate in the senatorial slate of Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III
Candidate's major donors and campaign funding sources
The candidate's top advocacies in the last 15 years or so
- Early Childhood Care and Development (R.A. No. 9890)
- National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (R.A. No. 9151)
- Worked for the enactment of laws on environmental governance like the Clean Air Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Climate Change Act, and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act
- Co-authored laws on environmental protection such as R.A. No. 8978 (Mt. Kitanglad Range Protected Area); R.A. No. (Batanes Group of Islands Protected Area); and R.A. No. 9147 (Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources Act)
- Founder of Luntiang Pilipinas
- Produced TV programs and documentaries on climate change and disaster risk reduction, including Ligtas (2013), “PA Talk: Protected Areas for a Protected Future” (2020)
- In September 2011, convened the assemblies of Indigenous Peoples in Luzon, in Visayas and in Mindanao, culminating in the First Indigenous Cultural Summit held in October 2011, to seek the perspectives of leaders and identify appropriate measures to address identified concerns, including through legislation and government initiatives. She also convened the 2nd National IP Cultural Summit in 2014
- Hosted Dayaw, a multi-part documentary series on Indigenous Peoples which premiered in 2015, produced by the NCCA and the ABS-CBN News Channel
- In 2014, the Office of Sen. Legarda partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts for the Philippines’ return to the 2015 Venice Art Biennale and 1st participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale
- Taklub, a 2015 film by Director Brillante Mendoza and inspired by Legarda’s advocacy in disaster risk reduction, was included in the Un Certain Regard category of the 68th Cannes Film Festival (in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Presidential Communications Operations Office – Philippine Information Agency)
- Since 2012, has supported the launch of Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textile, or the Philippines’ first permanent textile galleries at the National Museum. She has also supported several other domestic and international exhibits featuring local weavers.
- In 2016, supported the launch of the National Arts and Crafts Fair, spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry
Basic information on the candidate's family, background and work experience
- Antonio Cabrera Legarda
Bessie Gella Bautista
- Lorenzo "Lanz" Leviste
Leandro "Lean" Leviste, founder and president of Solar Philippines (2011)
• Master’s Degree, National Security Administration, National Defense College of the Philippines, 1993
• Post-graduate degree in Journalism, University of California, Los Angeles, 1985
• B.A. Broadcast Communications, University of the Philippines Diliman, 1981
• Doctor of Laws, University of the Philippines Diliman, June 24, 2018
• Head, Ad Hoc Quick Response Team on the Taal Volcano eruption (2020)
• Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative, 18th Congress (2019-2022)
• Senator, 17th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2016-2019)
• Senator, 16th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2013-2016)
• Senator, 15th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2010-2013)
• Senator, 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2007-2010)
• Senator and Majority Leader, 12th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2001-2004)
•Member, Women in Parliaments Global Forum Executive Board, 2016
•Co-Chair, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment Philippines
•Senior Advisor, Ocean Security International, 2013
•Founding Member, Global Advisory Group of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2012
•Founding Chair, Asia Pacific Institute for Green Development, 2011
•Colonel, Philippine Air Force Reserve
•Hosted, conceptualized and co-produced several TV series and documentaries, Broadcast journalist, 1978-1998