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Women in Senate


LADY LEGISLATORS – From women in showbiz a few issues back, Highspeed segues to lady legislators…in the Senate in particular. March is International Women’s Month and so it’s apt to devote space on the so-called fairer (stronger?) sex.

There are six incumbent senators, the most senior of whom (in terms of stay in the Senate) is Loren Legarda. She’s been a senator for over 12 years. Very hardworking, Loren’s advocacy includes environment, ethnic minority, health.

She was topnotcher twice, getting the most number of votes among elected senators.

When her term ends two years from now, Loren plans to take a much-needed rest and then carry on serving the public in her private capacity.

Grace Poe is much admired for her ability to ask the most revealing and telling questions without being rude or impolite. She represents and expresses the aspirations of the youth in the halls of Senate.

Cynthia Villar is the champion of small businesses for women, making them even productive even at home.

Nancy Binay is the quiet one in the Senate, but works for the welfare of children.

Rissa Hontiveros is very much involved in health issues for mothers and children, author of the bill extending the maternity from one month to three months.

Leila de Lima, in Camp Crame’s custodial center as of this writing, is accused of drug trafficking…as claimed by convicts. In time she’s confident of being cleared of all charges as she has the best weapon: Truth.

THEN – Before the imposition of Martial Law in 1972, there were seven lady senators.

The first is Geronimo Pecson, followed by Pacita Madrigal, Maria kalaw-Katigbak, Tecla Sam Andres-Ziga, Eva Estrada_kalaw, magnolia Wellborn-Antonio, and Helen Benitez.

Katigbak was Carnical Queen-Miss Philippines and later MTRCB chair. Ziga was Bar topnotcher. Antonio was last-minute replacement of her husband Laudencio who died in a helicopter crash while campaigning. Benitez is identified with Bayanihan Dance Troupe and Philippine Women’s University.

When Martial Law ended in the mis-’80, when Corazon Aquino took over Ferdinand Marcos as President, the Senate was restored and the following were elected senators.

In no particular order: Letty Ramos-Shahani (sister of President Fidel Ramos), Santanina Rasul (first and only Muslim lady senator), Nikki Coseteng, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (later President), Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Pia Cayetano, Jamby Madrigal, Loi Estrada-Ejercito (former First Lady).

So there, to date 22 women graced the Senate…six of them incumbent.