(Editor’s Note: With a little less than a month before the mid-term elections in May, INQUIRER.net has decided to deviate from the usual platform interviews of senatorial and local candidates that have been aired and written about and instead get to know them up close and, perhaps a little more personal, as we hope so will you our dear readers. The series of interviews will be posted on our special election site, Vote 2013 under INQuest. Is the exercise meant to make these candidates look good? Definitely not. But we enjoin you to watch and listen and let your candidates tell their stories because, believe it or not, their stories are ours as well.)
MANILA, Philippines — By “accident” is how re-electionist Senator Loren Legarda describes her entry into politics.
Guesting on INQUIRER.net’s INQuest: Vote 2013, Legarda says she was interviewing then President Fidel Ramos when he says suddenly that she can run for the Senate if she wanted to.
Legarda, an award-winning broadcast journalist and producer, thought the idea ridiculous at that time because, she says, she was happy and fulfilled with her job and couldn’t ask for anything more.
Not one to back down from a challenge, however, run Legarda did, and the rest, cliche as it sounds, is history.
Legarda admits she’s a “perfectionist”, a trait she carried over to the Senate from her more than two decades in broadcasting.
She clarifies reports about her vaunted “temper”, calling it an “intolerance for mediocrity”, saying she expects the same from the people she works with.
But there’s no hint of that intolerance when Legarda talks about her family, whose “good genes” she credits for whatever success she’s enjoying.
She describes her roots as “middle class” but where her uncles and aunts were either “cum laudes or magna cum laudes”, with Jose Bautista for a grandfather, once editor-in-chief of the old Manila Times from whom she has inherited her “news sense”, and parents who enrolled her in top schools so that she may reap the benefits of a good education.
And if anything or anyone can light up Legarda’s face, well, there are her two sons, whom she goes out with on “dates” and who have supported her causes, traveling and sampling people’s customs and traditions, and protecting the environment, a life-long advocacy for which she has authored a number of laws for as senator.
When re-elected (almost a certainty based on her consistent top ranking in almost all the election surveys), Legarda says she plans to continue with the advocacies she has started and will introduce new ones, including a bill that will fund scholarships for deserving but financially challenged students.
And with her work seemingly cut out for her even before she returns to the Senate, how does Legarda manage to keep her sanity?
“I’ve learned to laugh at myself,” she says.
More of the interview on Loren Legarda on INQuest: Vote 2013.