MANILA — Antique Rep. Loren Legarda is set to return to the Senate after winning her fourth term in the 2022 senatorial race.
"I look forward to my fourth term in the Senate po ngayon. [Ako] ang pinaka-senior po, hindi po sa edad, kundi po sa pang-apat kong termino sa Senado ngayon," Legarda said in her speech on Wednesday after being proclaimed as senator-elect.
(I am the most senior, not because of age, but because I am getting my fourth term in the Senate now.)
She said she looks forward to working with the newer, first-term senators-elect, who she expects to bring "a fresh perspective to the current problems facing the Senate today."
"Noong 1998, ako po ang Benjamin of the [upper] house. Pinakabatang senador, aaminin ko, 38 years old ako noon," Legarda said, referring to the biblical character who was the youngest among Jacob's sons.
(Back in 1998, I was the the Benjamin of the upper house. I admit I was the youngest senator; I was only 38 years old back then.)
"And I can say that the problems of 1998 still persist today. Pero mas malala po ngayon dahil sa twin crises facing us," she added, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.
(But the problems are worse today because of the twin crises facing us.)
She said that in her new term as senator, she would push for measures to address the country's climate problem, as well as craft "green, sustainable, and resilient" recovery methods from the pandemic.
"Inaalay ko po ang aking karanasan sa tatlong termino sa Senado, inaalay po naming lahat ang aming sipag, at alam at sakripisyo po para maibsan po natin ang mga pangangailangan ng taong bayan," Legarda said.
(I dedicate my three-term experience in the Senate, and all of us dedicate our hard work, wisdom, and sacrifices to address the needs of our people.)
Legarda finished second in the 2022 Senate race with 24,264,969 votes, trailing actor and fellow Senator-elect Robin Padilla.
Once she is sworn into office on June 30, Legarda will be serving her fourth stint in the Senate. She previously served as senator from 1998 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2019.
She is the only female politician in the country to top 2 senatorial elections, first in 1998 and then in 2007.
Legarda also ran for vice president twice but lost both times, first in 2004 in tandem with the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., and then in 2010 with then-senator Manny Villar.