Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda

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In this Philippine name, the first family name is Bautista and the second is Legarda.
The Honorable
Loren Legarda
UPLB honored Loren (cropped).jpg
Legarda in 2009
Senator of the Philippines
Assumed office
June 30, 2007
In office
June 30, 1998 – June 30, 2004
Chair of the Philippine Senate Finance Committee
Assumed office
July 25, 2016
Preceded by Francis Escudero
Chair of the Philippine Senate
Foreign Relations Committee
In office
July 26, 2010 – July 22, 2013
Preceded by Miriam Defensor Santiago
Succeeded by Miriam Defensor Santiago
Majority Floor Leader of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
July 23, 2002 – June 30, 2004
Preceded by Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
Succeeded by Francis Pangilinan
In office
July 23, 2001 – June 3, 2002
Preceded by Francisco Tatad
Succeeded by Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
Personal details
Born Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda
(1960-01-28) January 28, 1960 (age 56)
Malabon, Rizal, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party NPC (2005–present)
Other political
Lakas-CMD (1998–2003)
Independent (2003-2005)
KNP (2004)
Genuine Opposition (2007)
Team PNoy (2012–2013)
Spouse(s) Antonio Leviste (1989–2008)
Children Lorenzo Leviste
Leandro Leviste
Residence Manila
Alma mater University of the Philippines (BA); University of California; National Defense College of the Philippines
Profession Senator
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Loren Legarda
Luntiang Pilipinas

Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda (born January 28, 1960) is a Filipino environmentalist, cultural worker, journalist, and politician, notable as the only female to top two senatorial elections — 1998 and 2007. During the 2004 Philippine general election, she ran for the position of Vice-President as an Independent with Fernando Poe, Jr. as running mate and again during the 2010 Philippine presidential election, for the same position as a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) with Manny Villar. US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks include her as one of the five most influential women in the Philippines. She was declared by the United Nations as a UN Global Champion for Resilience.[1]

Early life[edit]

Loren Legarda was born on January 28, 1960 in Malabon (which was then-part of Rizal Province) as Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda, the only daughter of Antonio Cabrera Legarda of San Pablo, Laguna, and Bessie Gella Bautista of Malabon. She was raised by an Ilocana yaya (nanny), who taught her, along with her mother, much about love for culture and the arts and indigenous people.[2][3] Her maternal grandfather was Jose P. Bautista, an editor of the pre-Martial Law newspaper, The Manila Times.[4] As a teenager, she appeared as a print and television model.[2]

She attended Assumption College from primary to high school,[5] where she was a valedictorian. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines in 1981 with a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast communications and was President of the UP Broadcast Administration.[2] She pursued post-graduate courses on special studies towards professional designation in journalism from the University of California, Los Angeles, California and graduated in 1985.[6]

Career in journalism[edit]

Legarda began a career in journalism as a reporter for RPN-9, during which she covered topics including Imelda Marcos' trip to Kenya and the People Power Revolution. During this period, she obtained a master's degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines, graduating at the top of the class with gold medals for Academic Excellence and Best Thesis.[7] Later, she would move to the reopened ABS-CBN, where Legarda would achieve her best success in her career as a journalist. She became the co-anchor of the television newscast, The World Tonight with Angelo Castro, Jr., and became the host of the current affairs series, The Inside Story.[2]

During this period, she received more than thirty major awards, including the Catholic Mass Media Hall of Fame, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Golden Dove Award, the Gawad Cultural Center of the Philippines,[2] and the Ten Outstanding Young Men and Women award.[5]

Political career[edit]

Senate, 1st term[edit]

After becoming urged by the Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, Legarda ran for the Senate in 1998 under the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party.[2] She was elected with more than 15 million votes, allowing her to be the highest vote-getter in that year's election. That year, Tina Monzon-Palma who came from rival ABC and was the anchor of The Big News, transferred to ABS-CBN in order to replace Legarda on The World Tonight at the same time and joining Angelo Castro, Jr. in order to run the latter for this election. But when the ratings got low in 1999, the newscast was replaced by Pulso: Aksyon Balita on ABS-CBN and moving The World Tonight to its 24-hour cable news channel ABS-CBN News Channel and until now, the newscast is still airing.

During her first six years in the Senate, Legarda authored legislation benefiting women's and children's rights, such as the following:

  • Anti-Domestic Violence Act - seeks to uphold and protect the basic human rights of women and their children.
  • Anti-Child Labor law - limits the employment of children below 15 years old, restricts the hours of work of working children, expands working children's access to education, social, medical and legal assistance.
  • Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act - aims to protect victims of human trafficking.

She also authored the following laws:[2]

  • Ecological Solid Waste Management Law - created the National Solid Waste Management Commission, which aims to establish segregation among garbage and wastes.
  • Tropical Fabric Law - prescribes the use of Philippine tropical fabrics for official uniforms of government officials and employees and for the purposes, which require the use of fabrics in government offices and functions.

Legarda played a role in the 2000-01 impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada that sparked the 2001 EDSA Revolution. She was later chosen to be the Senate's Majority Floor Leader from 2001-2004.[2]

Vice Presidential Election, 2004[edit]

Senator Loren Legarda during a 2007 Philippine Military Academy ceremony

In 2003, Legarda left Lakas-CMD (after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo broke her pledge not to run again for president) and joined the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino coalition of Fernando Poe, Jr. as an Independent during the 2004 elections.

On January 18, 2008, in a 21-page resolution, penned by Senior Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissed Legarda's electoral protest against Noli de Castro.[8]

Senate, 2nd term[edit]

In 2007, Legarda decided to run again for Senate under the banner of the Genuine Opposition coalition. She won, receiving more than 18 million votes, which allowed her to become the top vote-getter in that election.[2] On July 14, 2009, she announced her intention to run as president during the 2010 elections.[9] On August 15, her bill, the Magna Carta on Women was passed.[2] On October 23 of that same year, during the launch of her humanitarian program "Lingkod Loren in Luneta",[2] she formally declared her intention to run for vice-president in 2010 under Nationalist People's Coalition with the platform of environmentalism.[10] After Francis Escudero, expected to run for president, left the NPC,[11] she decided that it would be best to stick with the Nacionalista Party's presidential candidate, Manny Villar, as a guest-running mate.[2]

So far in her second term as senator, Legarda has filed the following laws:

  • Expanded Senior Citizens Law - seeks to increase the discount granted to senior citizens to 32% on goods and services, impose stiffer penalties to establishments which refuse to honor senior citizen card, etc.
  • Climate Change Law - builds resilience to the impacts of climate change through the mainstreaming of climate change in various phases of policy formulation, development plans, poverty reduction strategies and other development tools by all agencies of government.
  • Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act - requires lending institutions to allocate at least eight percent of their total loan portfolio to micro and small businesses.
  • Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act - fixes the maximum retail price of certain medicines and increases access of cheaper medicines in the country.
  • Revised Agri-Agra Law - mandates banks to devote 25% of their loanable funds to agriculture and agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Legarda lost her bid for the Philippine vice-presidency to Jejomar Binay, placing third in the 2010 Philippine presidential elections. As a result, she continued to serve in the Senate. In 2010, Legarda was given chairmanship for the Senate committees on climate change, cultural communities, and foreign affairs.[12] She would later go to the United Nations to deposit the Philippines ratification for the International Criminal Court membership.[13] As a result of Koko Pimentel's win in his case against Juan Miguel Zubiri, evidence about Legarda's cheating allegations against Noli de Castro and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have surfaced.[14][15]

Senate, 3rd and final term[edit]

Legarda was reelected during the 2013 elections, garnering the second highest number of votes among the 12 winning senators. Under the law, she is barred from seeking a 4th senate term, making her 3rd term, the last. Her term will end on 2019.

During her final term, she focused on much legislative push for various nationalistic, environmental, transparency, and pro-indigenous bills in the Senate. Among these bills being pushed were the Baybayin Bill, which will institutionalize baybayin as the national writing system; a bill to mandate the government to use the Gross Happiness Index used by Bhutan; and the Freedom of Information bill. She is also pushing for stricter implementation of the Solid Waste Management Act, Renewable Energy Law, Climate Change Law, and the Clean Air Act.

She also focused on the enhancement of Philippine culture and the arts. She pursued greater public awareness and public cooperation for the National Museum of the Philippines, National Library of the Philippines, indigenous communities in the country, Philippines heritage conservation and restoration, greater appreciation of Philippine and international art, and support for UNESCO initiatives. She also became the presenter of Dayaw, a much-anticipated 6-part series documentation about the indigenous communities of the Philippines. Due to these factors, she was much cited by various organizations to be the best person to head the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the future.

She was awarded as a UN Global Champion for Resilience in 2015 due to her advocacy and actions on climate change and environmentalism.


Legarda is a notable advocate of Climate Change Awareness and has numerous achievements in the fields of social development and human rights advocacy along with her work in journalism. As a journalist, she has received many awards. In 2008, she was chosen as "United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation".[16] She was a member of the Philippine delegation during the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.[16]

With her "Luntiang Pilipinas" foundation, Legarda has planted over two million trees all over the Philippine archipelago.[2] The charity also launched its 10@10: The Ten Million Trees Campaign, a viral tree planting campaign with the intention of planting 10 million trees by the year 2011. This campaign aims to contribute to the United Nations Environmental Program, which aims to reach the seven billion-tree mark by 2009. One of her major accomplishments as an environmentalist is the passage of the Climate Change Act in October 2009.[2] She filed this bill two years ago, through inspiration from the Albay Declaration, the outcome document of the First National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, as it called for “the passage of a policy prioritizing climate change adaptation in the national agenda”.[4] Legarda was chosen by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a member of the Philippine delegation during the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.[4]

Legarda was named as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2000, and was awarded by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) in Turin, Italy, for her work on the environment in 2001.[7] Legarda was appointed as United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation,[4] and she participated in the 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.[17]

In 2015, Legarda awarded the Global Champion for Resilience honors from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 1989, she married former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste. Their marriage produced two sons: Lorenzo Leviste and Leandro Leviste.[2] They separated in 2003 and their marriage was annulled in 2008.

She is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Philippine Air Force Reserve Corps. The Maranao Sultanate League of the Moro people bestowed the honorary title of "Bai Alabi" ("Princess") on her.[4][18]


Year Film / Television Role Network
1975-86 Discorama DJ / Presenter GMA Network
1980-86 Who Knows That? Host / Presenter GMA Network
1981-86 BBC News Late Night Edition Newscaster BBC (now ABS-CBN)
1985 Manila Envelope Host / Presenter
1986-98 The World Tonight Newscaster / Presenter ABS-CBN
1986-90 PEP Talk Newscaster / Presenter ABS-CBN
1990-98 The Inside Story Newscaster / Presenter ABS-CBN
2000 Markova: Comfort Gay[19]
2001-03 Kabalikat: Loren Legarda Newscaster / Presenter ABS-CBN
2003 Sa mata ng balita: 50 taong pamamahayag sa telebisyon Newscaster / Presenter ABS-CBN
2003-04 Tara Tena Newscaster / Presenter ABS-CBN
2004-07 Real Stories: Kasama si Loren Newscaster / Presenter ABC
2015-2016 Dayaw Presenter ABS-CBN


  1. ^ "WikiLeaks: US impressed with 'influential' Kris, Merci". ABS-CBN News. Posted at 08/30/2011 11:25 PM | Updated as of 08/31/2011 2:29 AM
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Probe Profiles: Loren Legarda. Probe TV/ABS-CBN News. Cheche Lazaro. January 20, 2010. Retrieved on February 5, 2010.
  3. ^ "Philippines, Manila, Civil Registration, 1899-1984," database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKJR-55F5 : accessed 7 June 2016), Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda, 28 Jan 1960; citing Birth, Manila, Metropolitan Manila, Philippines, Civil Registry Office, City Hall of Manila; FHL microfilm 1,580,963.
  4. ^ a b c d e How Green is Loren's Valley?. January 24, 2010. Ricky Lo. The Philippine Star. Retrieved on February 6, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Loren primed for the vice-presidency". February 6, 2010. ABS-CBN News
  6. ^ http://news.abs-cbn.com/botomo/05/13/09/profile-lorna-regina-loren-bautista-legarda
  7. ^ a b http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/legarda_loren_bio.asp
  8. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/24591/palace-backs-fraud-probe
  9. ^ Avendaño, Christine (2009-07-14). "Legarda says she's ready to run for president". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  10. ^ Legaspi, Amita (2009-10-23). "Legarda says she will run as veep under NPC in 2010". GMA News. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  11. ^ "(UPDATE 2) Escudero leaves NPC". 2009-10-28. 
  12. ^ "allies corner Senate committees ". (The Philippine Star) Updated August 03, 2010 12:00 AM.
  13. ^ "DFA: PHL deposits instrument of ratification for int'l crime court". GMA News. 08/31/2011 | 02:52 PM.
  14. ^ "Fraud in 2004 presidential polls". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 10:15 pm | Saturday, August 13th, 2011
  15. ^ "Return ‘proof of fraud,’ SC asked". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 1:11 am | Sunday, August 14th, 2011
  16. ^ a b c "UN body names Legarda Global Champion for Resilience". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  17. ^ BBC World Debate ‘Prevent or React’. July 1, 2009. BBC/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Retrieved on February 5, 2010.
  18. ^ Golden Girl Loren Legarda. January 27, 2010. Martinez-Belen, Cristina. The Manila Bulletin. retrieved on February 6, 2010.
  19. ^ Loren Legarda. IMDb.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Francisco Tatad
Majority leader of the Senate of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Francis Pangilinan