Legarda not seeking Senate presidency, wants to chair finance panel again

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 13) — Senatorial candidate Loren Legarda is not vying for the Senate presidency even when she returns to the upper chamber for the fourth time.

Legarda, who is currently Top 2 in the partial and unofficial tally in the Senate race, told CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday that she acknowledges her other colleagues who have expressed preference for the post.

"I know that some of my friends and colleagues have made pronouncements in media that they are interested for the post," she said. "This is something that will be discussed once we are officially elected and declared by the Comelec."

"I am not aspiring although people have asked me why not," the former broadcast journalist added. "But I can say hindi po ako interesado as of now. Napakaraming nagtatanong bakit daw hindi ako interesado, sabi ko iba naman ang gusto kong gawin but you'll never know. I am not seeking the position."

[Translation: I can say I am not interested as of now. So many people have asked me why I am not interested, I said I want to do something else, but you'll never know. I am not seeking the position.]

Legarda said that as much as possible, she would like to chair the Senate Finance committee, but she will welcome other leadership positions that will be offered to her.

She noted that caucuses will be held before the 19th Congress convenes.

"This is something that will be discussed once we are officially elected and declared by the Comelec (Commission on Elections)," she pointed out. "As always, this is not a unilateral decision, this is done in a very democratic consensual discussion among elected representatives of the people."

Reelectionist Migz Zubiri and Sen. Cynthia Villar are among the names being considered for the Senate presidency under the administration of Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

Reelectionist Win Gatchalian is also eyeing the post.

Before running as Antique representative, Legarda has had her long years of serving the Senate, from 1998 to 2004, and from 2007 to 2019.

She was given chairmanship for the upper chamber's committees on climate change, cultural communities and foreign affairs, environment and natural resource, and finance.

Legarda, who is part of the UniTeam senatorial slate, dismissed the possibility of the Senate being a "rubberstamp" to the President.

She also committed to file the "One Tablet, One Student Act," and measures that will promote employment generation, enhanced opportunities for MSMEs, and environmental sustainability, among others.