MANILA, Philippines – She’s popular and has consistently topped surveys. But Sen. Loren Legarda has likewise been criticized for reportedly being a political butterfly, having changed political parties and alliances in her 12-year career as a politician.
She first ran for senator in 1998 under the Lakas-NUCD-UMD political party, then joined the opposition, running under Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino for vice president in 2004.
Since 2004, however, Legarda has been consistent in her alliance with one man: Vice President Jejomar Binay.
GMA News.tv chronicled the ties between Binay and Legarda: Binay was the campaign manager of Legarda and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. when the two ran – but lost – in the 2004 elections.
In 2007, Legarda ran again for the Senate under United Opposition, which was headed by then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay. In 2010, Legarda was pitted against Binay for the post of vice president; Legarda teamed up with Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manuel Villar, while Binay ran with ousted President Joseph Estrada. Binay won.
Legarda retained her Senate post after her defeat. And she has announced that she will seek re-election in 2013 under the ticket of Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
In the Senate, Binay has 2 other key allies aside from Legarda: Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Francis Escudero.
The Vice President has a pending case before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (composed also of the SC and headed by Chief Justice Renato Corona), filed by Liberal Party’s Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas. (Binay has said that there should be no “constitutional shortcuts” in the ongoing impeachment trial against Corona.)
Legarda, however, also has ties with Sen. Manuel Villar, who heads the Nacionalista Party and whose members in the Senate include senators Pia and Alan Peter Cayetano, as well as Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ MarcosJr.
Legarda is also considered part of the 7-member bloc headed by Sen. Edgardo Angara. Along with Angara, Legarda voted for Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile for Senate President.
With different alliances, Legarda could be one of the swing votes for the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Education: Finished broadcast communication in UP; obtained a masters degree in national security administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines
Profession: broadcast journalist, anchor
Senate committee: climate change, cultural communities, foreign relations
Current term: 2007 to 2013
Eligible for reelection? Yes, in 2013. Legarda is considered a first termer even though she served in the Senate before this current term. She won her first Senate term in 1998 and was supposed to be eligible for reelection in 2004, when she opted to run for vice-president instead. From 2004 to 2007, she was not a member of the chamber, thus her 2007 Senate win started a fresh 2-term cycle.
Political party: Nationalist People’s Coalition
Senate bloc: She is part of the Angara bloc composed of Senators Lito Lapid, Gregorio Honasan, Bong Revilla and Vicento Sotto.
Role in Estrada impeachment: Legarda was one of the 10 senators who voted for the opening of the second envelope in the impeachment trial against President Estrada. She was seen crying after they were outvoted. The incident sparked Edsa 2, which ousted Estrada.
Position published or aired on Corona or on issues contained in the Articles of Impeachment:
Legarda wanted then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to allow her successor to appoint the chief justice. “I know that some allies of the President are insisting that she has the power to appoint the next chief justice of the Supreme Court, but I urge her, not just out of delicadeza, but out of love for our country, to inhibit herself from appointing the next chief justice after the present chief justice, Reynato Puno, retires,” she said in 2010.
On the travel ban on Arroyo in 2011, Legarda said the issue should best be decided by the SC. The Department of Justice barred Arroyo from meeting medical specialists on bone disorder abroad because she is one of 41 people placed under preliminary investigation for alleged electoral sabotage in 2007. The SC later issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the DOJ from enforcing its ban. – Rappler.com
Sources: www.senate.gov.ph, www.gmanews.tv, www.inquirer.net