Loren Legarda’s second son Leandro Legarda Leviste wrote to Philstar in defense of her mother who was disowned by her eldest son, Lorenzo, in a highly publicized and talked about op-ed piece published in the website news company Rappler.
Leandro began by stating his reason for writing to Philstar and that is, he believes her Mom deserves all the recognition in the world for being an exemplary public servant and role model for the youth.
From my POV, Leandro was basically defending her mom Loren from his older brother who campaigned against her in the Rappler op-ed because she is aligning with the offsprings of fascist leaders Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and Rodrigo Duterte.
Leandro ended the letter to Philstar, saying the older he gets, the more he sees of the realities of life, the more he has come to appreciate all that her mom has done and continues to do for her family and her country.
You may now read Leandro’s full letter to Philstar below.
I am writing this because my mom deserves all the recognition in the world for being an exemplary public servant and a role model for the youth.
My mom grew up in a middle-class family in Malabon and went on to become an award-winning journalist before she turned 30. She was elected senator with the highest number of votes at 38 and became the first female Majority Leader at 41. She has produced a body of legislation over the past 24 years larger than I can do justice to here. It can be overwhelming to think of how she achieved so much by such a young age, but it should serve as an example for what young people can do, in hopes that our country can have more people as committed as her to raising the bar for excellence in public service.
Excellence for my mom is measured not in terms of headline-grabbing privilege speeches, but in the quality of bills that become laws, that reporters admit cause them to move to cover more exciting topics. There was no political logic for my mom to author the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law of 2004, or even the Climate Change Act of 2008, which others questioned the need for at the time. But that’s who she is – she champions causes, recognized or not, due to her deeply-rooted sense of responsibility to do what is right.
I think one reason why my mom has been able to get so much done is that she knows how to work with others. A consensus builder among political parties, she has even been a hostage negotiator with the Abu Sayyaf. While politics can be contentious, I have seen from my mom the importance of having civil discussions, empathy and respect for people even with whom one disagrees to pass crucial legislation.
Even more incredible is that she has done all this while being a single mom, who has always put family before politics. When I was 16 years old, I felt a pain in my chest. My mom was preparing to launch her 2010 vice presidential campaign, yet she canceled all her schedules and insisted on bringing me to the hospital, where we learned that I had punctured my lung. She stayed overnight on a bench in the ICU throughout my confinement. Her combination of caring and attention to detail saved my life.
Despite my mom’s busy schedule, she still even micromanages caring for my 89-year-old grandfather and our 88-year-old Nanay Fely, who took care of us all from birth, and whom my mom treats like her own mother. It’s amazing how my mom can care for so many people so efficiently amid all her work. These are just among the countless examples of how she puts others before herself. I consider it as the greatest privilege to have had so much of my mom’s time growing up, and see it as the least I can do as a son to burden her as little as possible so she can devote as much time as she can to help others.
The older I get, and the more I see of the realities of life, the more I have come to appreciate all that my mom has done and continues to do for her family and her country. I have never been more proud of my mom than I am now. Advanced Happy Mother’s Day, mom!
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Leandro is the youngest son of Loren Legarda. He is the founder of Solar Philippines.