Loren: I can be Nancy’s mentor

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As neophyte senator 15 years ago, Loren Legarda had to learn the ropes the hard way.

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Now she wants to make the process easier for a Senate newcomer, Nancy Binay.

Legarda recalled that she also had to learn the ropes when she first became senator in 1998. She admitted that Sen. Raul Roco intimidated her, and that she cried when she failed to get the chairmanship of a committee that she wanted.

She offered to be a mentor to Binay and the other new senators.

“The important thing for first termers is hard work. There is no substitute for hard work. I am more than willing to be a mentor to the new blood, be their older sister, share my knowledge,” Legarda said.

As a veteran lawmaker, she has this unsolicited advice to Nancy Binay who will soon be a member of the Senate: Study well.

Binay has been the subject of stinging commentaries and scathing jokes on social networking sites for her lack of experience and dark complexion.

“She has to study to prove detractors wrong. She will overcome this through sheer hard work. She should look at this not as a criticism, but as a friendly challenge to do a good job,” Legarda said.

Binay, a mother of twins, has for the past 20 years been the personal assistant of her father, Jejomar Binay, who was mayor of Makati City for almost two decades before being elected as Vice President in 2010.

Aside from Nancy, the other likely winners who are set to become senators for the first time include Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Rep. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino.

“Experience and age are not necessarily better than inexperience and youth. Sometimes, there should be a whip of freshness. We [oldtimers]can learn from them and vice-versa,” the 53-year-old Legarda, who topped the Senate races in 1998 and 2007, added.

Legarda congratulated Llaman­zares who has consistently topped the poll count.

“I am happy that she is on top. Her victory is a clear vindication that we really won in 2004. She is a competent professional and I like her simplicity. She can be a fast learner,” she said.

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