Legarda on probable speakership: Surprised, but can do job

Aleta Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 12:36 PM

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MANILA - Outgoing Senator Loren Legarda said she was surprised but ready, after she was floated as among possible contenders for the speakership of the House of Representatives.

"I'm surprised my name was even there. However, if it's the ability to perform a good job as speaker I believe that I can do it. Humbly speaking, insofar as performance in the job at hand," Legarda said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

Aside from Legarda, other rumored candidates for the position include President Rodrigo Duterte's son, congressman-elect Paolo Duterte, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, and incoming Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

"However, the speakership is a choice among the 297 elected representatives of the various districts of the country. It's not for a person to claim it. You can vie for it," Legarda said. 

While at the House, Legarda also hopes to get the chairmanship of a committee she's familiar with.

"I know finance very well. I've served two presidents as chairman of the finance--outgoing president [Benigno III] Aquino and the three years of the Duterte administration," Legarda said.

Legarda currently chairs the Senate Committee on Finance where several significant bills were funded like Free Tertiary Education Act, the doubling of the base pay of military and police personnel, as well as the funding for the free irrigation for farmers and the universal healthcare law.

"It is something I strongly feel I can bring to the table. I'm very fair with everybody and very transparent in everything. That's something I can do," she said.

Aside from finance, Legarda said she also chaired other committees in her 18 years in the Senate like cultural communities, climate change, foreign relations, agriculture, economic affairs and rural development.

"However, as in the Senate, you don't have a monopoly of knowledge in one committee," she said.

Legarda defeated former Governor Exequiel Javier for the congressional post after securing 199,187 votes against 69,716. Javier's family has dominated Antique since 1986.

"I'm really humbled by what happened. It's so inspiring because there were so many challenges in 30 years that did not happen or the change people expected to improve their lives," she said.