During several meetings, the eminent Professor Emmanuel Q. Yap would exclaim — “She’s a political prostitute!” — when the name of Loren Legarda was mentioned.
Loren Legarda started to create that perception of being a political prostitute when she ate humble pie and embraced former president Joseph Estrada and his 2004 presidential candidate, the late Fernando Poe, Jr. From taking a prominent prosecutorial role in the Estrada Impeachment Case, even shedding tears after the historic impeachment trial walkout which triggered EDSA II, Loren Legarda abandoned her position on the Estrada issue just to be able to run as vice president of Fernando Poe, Jr.
To any person with the barest amount of self respect and sense of propriety, that act of embracing the Joseph Estrada Loren helped prosecute (and who was eventually jailed, convicted and pardoned by a successor who probably did not find plunder that offensive) would have been unthinkable. True enough — the most livid reactions to Loren Legarda’s turnaround came from her fellow alumni in Assumption Convent.
“She’s such a hypocrite. She claims she’s planted many trees. Yet, she voted for the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).” — was how Senator Jamby Madrigal described Loren in a recent article. JPEPA, it must be recalled, was being resisted for its perceived threat to the environment.
In the same article, Madrigal added: “Loren once hated Manny Villar with a passion. She worked hard to oust him as Senate president. Then, she joined forces with him for the money.”
It was not only the ouster of Villar as Senate President where Loren Legarda took an active role. She had vigorously pressed for Villar’s conviction in the Senate Double Insertion and Ethics cases. She was doing these against Villar because at that time she was a presidential contender and Villar was a leading rival.
When Loren Legarda’s presidential illusions fizzled out and she realized that Villar offered her the best chances to become vice president — money and machinery specifically — all of a sudden, Villar was no longer that objectionable to her. All of a sudden, as solid evidences were being revealed in the Ethics Case hearings by crusading lawyer Atty. Ernesto Francisco, Jr., Loren found Villar “clean enough” to tandem with.
During last weekend’s HARAPAN (Face off) among the vice presidential candidates which was staged by ABS-CBN, Loren Legarda must have been shocked to see how the voting panel rated her credibility. She scored the lowest believability at 8.2% versus Mar’s 91.8% believability when the topic of loyalty was discussed. She hit very low believability scores of 17.4%, 14.6% and 8.2% on other topics.
The hypocrisy which Jamby Madrigal accused Loren Legarda of is very glaring in Loren’s attempt to mimic her running mate Manny Villar in projecting an image of being ONCE POOR. Your Chair Wrecker debunked that “ONCE POOR” myth Villar has been peddling in our February 7, 2010 column (Was Manny Villar really ever poor?) which you can read in the Chair Wrecker website (www.chairwrecker.com) or by simply typing the headline on Google.
This “ONCE POOR” myth is nothing more than sheer deception. It exploits the Information and Education Gaps afflicting the poor. The proclaimed “Messiahs” of the poor are displaying signs that once elected — they will be there to exploit the poor.
In several media interviews, Loren has been brandishing her own version of “POOR ME” although she has the good sense not to imply that she swam in a sea of garbage like Manny Villar. In the 1950’s, when Villar was supposed to be “POOR” — there was no such thing as a sea of garbage. The so-called sea of garbage started during Martial Law.
Your Chair Wrecker was surprised when Loren claimed several times on TV that she was once “POOR” and so we verified her claim. Here are hallmarks of how “POOR” Loren Legarda was, as described by a member of her family:
1. Loren’s family lived in University Hills, an exclusive subdivision in the Malabon area. Being atop a hill, the subdivision did not flood like many areas nearby.
2. They lived in a one hectare compound that was bought by her grandfather, the late Manila Times Editor in Chief, Jose Bautista. The Manila Times was the largest circulating, most powerful and influential newspaper until September 21, 1972. Across their compound was the house of Don Macario Asistio.
3. Loren studied at Assumption Convent for grade school and high school. Assumption Convent is usually the school of choice of the elite. For college, Loren studied at UP (University of the Philippines). Her brothers Gary and A. A. went to the Ateneo de Manila University, another school associated with the elite.
4. Antonio Legarda, Loren’s father, was the General Manager of Mantrade, one of the biggest firms then. Loren’s mother — described by Loren as a “mere employee” — was the Executive Assistant of then PNB (Philippine National Bank) president P. O. Domingo. There is no doubt that the combined incomes of her father and mother provided an upper class lifestyle for the Legarda family.
Easily 95% of Filipinos today would want to be as “POOR” as Loren Legarda who lived through all those “HARD TIMES” and now resides in Forbes Park after having been elected senator in 1998.