Profile of Lorna Regina "Loren" Bautista Legarda

Research by JM Victor Raymundo, 2010 Halalan Volunteer

Posted at May 13 2009 04:33 PM | Updated as of May 05 2010 09:08 PM

Date of Birth: January 28, 1960
Place of Birth: Manila, Metro Manila
Address: Malabon City

Civil Status: Separated from second husband, former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste
Children: Lanz Legarda, Lean Legarda

Official website:
Facebook Page:
Twitter Account:


Loren Legarda, a well-coiffed broadcast journalist-turned-senator, is joining the vice presidential race for the second time. She was the running mate of action hero Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 elections, but she lost to Noli de Castro, a former peer in media giant, ABS-CBN.

Her foray into politics started when she heeded the urging of former President Fidel V. Ramos, who she used to cover as a journalist, to join the 1998 senatorial race. She would go on to be the only female candidate to top 2 senatorial elections (1998 and 2007).

As a two-term lady senator, she championed the environmental and women’s advocacies, and had occasionally played roles in the release of various kidnapped victims in Mindanao. She has moved alliances from one political party to the next. 

On 2010 runningmate Manny Villar: “Siya’y lumaki sa slums ng Tondo, ako’y lumaki sa baha ng Malabon” Legarda was also quoted as saying: “I was also raised through sipag and tiyaga.” In answer to allegations that she was paid billions to run with Villar, she defended, “Ang aming pagsasama ay alyansa ng plataporma, hindi pera-pera.”

On running for Vice President for the second time: “Running for public office is not a matter of securing power. It’s not a matter of gaining fortune. It’s not a matter of having popularity. It’s a matter of getting things done.”

On election spending: “Wala akong kalahating bilyong piso para maglagay ng ads. It’s money driven. It’s ad-driven.”

On party-shifting: “Lahat ay nag-iba ang pananaw. Dahil yung pinaglaban mo noong 2001, ay parang bula. Yung pinaglaban mo, hindi pala yung tamang taong pinaglaban mo.” When asked why she left former President Joseph Estrada despite their alliance in past elections, Loren said: “Ako lang ba ang lumipat noon? Lahat siguro ng nakikita natin na nasa Edsa Dos, wala nang natira.”

Educational Background

  • Legarda finished basic and secondary education at the Assumption College in posh San Lorenzo Village in Makati City. She was the class Valedictorian when she finished grade school in 1973.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Legarda also took up a Master’s in National Security Administration from National Defense College of the Philippines and graduated in 1993.

Career Highlights

1975: Legarda started an early pre-college career as a commercial model with J. Walter Thompson at the age of 15. Her commercial modeling credits include advertisements for brands such as Close-Up, Pond’s Cream, Kodak, Blue Clinic Shampoo, and Sunsilk.

1980-1981: Legarda became a host of the info-tainment show “Who Knows That?” In GMA 7.

1981: Legarda was a DJ in “Discorama”, with the Apo Hiking Society, GMA 7.

1981-1985: Legarda moved to RPN 9 to anchor “Newswatch”, a public affairs show.

1985-1986: After finishing post-graduate courses in California, Legarda worked as a host, producer, and writer for the show “Manila Envelope” of the KSCI Channel 18 in Los Angeles. While doing this, she worked as a writer for Media Office of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.

1986: Legarda returned to the Philippines and anchored “Street Pulse” in RPN 9.

1986-2004: She transferred to ABS-CBN and hosted numerous news and current affairs shows like Pep Talk, Kabalikat, Tara Tena, The World Tonight and The Insider Story.

2004-2007: She was the host of the public affairs show, “Real Stories: Kasama si Loren” on ABC-5.

1998-2001: Legarda was elected as Senator in the 11th Congress under the LAKAS-NUCD party with 15 million votes. She was a Senator-judge in the Estrada Impeachment trial. Among her first laws was RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2003.

July, 2001:  broadcast journalist Arlyn dela Cruz was released in Sulu by Muslim captors through Loren's intervention.

April 2001: Major Noel Buan was released to a humanitarian mission led by Loren, together with Bishop Jesus Varela and Bishop Tomas Millamena, in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro by his NPA captors

2004: Legarda ran for Vice-president under the KNP (Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino) with running-mate Fernando Poe, Jr. This was generally considered ironic since she was very emotional when peers in the Senate blocked a procedure during the 2001 impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada, a close friend of Poe. Her shift in allegiances from LAKAS-NUCD to KNP prompted criticisms that she is a ‘political butterfly.’

She lost the vice presidential race to Noli de Castro who won by a margin of about 800,000 votes. It was her only loss in her political career. She blamed fraudsters for her loss, questioned De Castro’s win and filed a petition in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. In 2008, her petition was cancelled.

During her time away from the Senate, she went back to her media career and hosted “Real Stories Kasama si Loren” for ABC 5.

June 2008:  Legarda facilitated the release of a former colleague in ABS-CBN, Ces Drilon, from captivity by factions of the Abu Sayyaf in the island province of Sulu.

2009: She toyed with the idea of running for a presidential or vice presidential post in the 2010 polls under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), which is led by business tycoon Danding Cojuangco. Eventually, she agreed to be the running mate of Sen. Manuel Villar, the Nacionalista Party standard bearer

Legislative Record

  • As of 1998, Legarda has filed 359 bills and resolutions.
  • During her first term as Senator, she passed into law several co-authored Republic Acts, which were primarily focused on environmental protection. Listed are:
  • RA 8749: Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999
  • RA 8991: Batanes Group of Islands Protected Area
  • RA 9003: Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 as its main author and sponsor
  • RA 9147: Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act
  • After getting re-elected in 2001, Legarda was active in co-authoring numerous national laws, solidifying her support for the anti-abuse of women and children, of which are highlighted:
    • RA 9160: Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001
    • RA 9165: Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002
    • RA 9189: Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003
    • RA 9208: Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003
    • RA 9231: Magna Carta for the Working Child
    • RA 9262: Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004
    • RA 9184: Government Procurement Reform Act
    • RA 9177: The Eid'l Fitr Holiday Law
    • RA 9174: Authored the The Balikbayan Program to attract overseas Filipinos to return and visit
  • During the 14th Congress, Legarda filed 192 bills, 10 of which she authored and sponsored. Her environmental, pro-women, pro-youth, pro-life stands were evident in her passage of laws. Some authored and sponsored laws are highlighted:
    • RA 9501: Magna Carta for Mirco, Small and Medium Enterprises
    • RA 9710: Magna Carta of Women
    • RA 9729: She authored the Climate Change Act, which aims to promote awareness and created the Climate Change Commission
    • RA 10000: Legarda passed the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009, which gave out agri-credit thru banks
    • RA 10068: Legarda authored and sponsored this law which provides for development of organic agriculture.
    • RA 10006: Legarda also passed into law this act which aims to preserve and protect the national cultural heritage.
    • RA 9700: She also passed and sponsored the amendment to CARP of 1988.

Political Parties

1998-2003: Legarda was a member of the LAKAS-NUCD party when she first ran for Senator. In 2000, she was a Senator-Judge in the Estrada Impeachment trial.

2004: Legarda ran for vice-president under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino with running mate Fernando Poe, Jr. She was criticized for changing political parties after once being a member of LAKAS-NUCD. Her switch was a result of the changing political times, when most EDSA II figures were shifting. She defended that she was not the only one to change parties.

2007: Legarda switched to the Nationalist People’ Coalition (NPC).

2009: She filed her candidacy for Vice-President with Nacionalista Party presidential bet Manny Villar. Her reason for siding with Villar is for the conformity and the similarity of their agendas and platforms on good governance, environment, and alleviating the poor from their condition.


  • Libro ni Loren Foundation Inc., Founder (to help improve literacy level in the country’s poorest provinces)
  • Bessie Legarda Memorial Foundation Inc., Founder (to provide medical assistance to indigent breast cancer victims, a support group to their families)
  • Luntiang Pilipinas 1998, Founder (to raise environemtnal awareness, plant 2 million trees)
  • 2008: Legarda was also the Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (reserve officer) for the Armed Forces of the Philippines
  • Livelihood Opportunities to Raise Entrepreneurship Nationwide (LOREN), Founder (to provide capital for women entrepreneurs)


  • Ten Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM) award
  • Global Leaders for Tomorrow (GLT) - World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
  • United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) laureate
  • Environment Awardee - Priyadarshni Academy in Mumbai, India
  • Catholic Mass Media Hall of Fame 1989
  • KBP Golden Dove Award, 2004
  • Gawad CCP
  • Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service (TOWNS) Award (1993)
  • Benigno Aquino Award for Journalism (1995)

–With additional research from Maria Althea Teves, Newsbreak