Press Release
March 8, 2010


Reelectionist Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago invoked International Women's Month, and appealed to the Comelec to educate voters on the use of maiden names by candidates such as herself.

The senator's name on the ballot appears as "Defensor Santiago, Miriam" prompting Pulse Asia to claim in its last senatorial survey that her rating dropped because respondents were using a simulated electronic ballot.

Santiago invoked the constitutional provision that: "The State shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of men and women."

Santiago said she has appealed to Comelec Chair Jose Melo to take "affirmative action" by educating voters that female candidates like herself have chosen to be listed under their maiden name, followed by their married name.

In a meeting March 5 of some 5,000 barangay leaders at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City, Santiago said that since women constitute one-half of the population, therefore women should constitute one-half of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, and one-half of the 15 Supreme Court justices.

In her speech, Santiago said that as a gender-sensitive country, the Philippines should also have a female Senate President, a female Speaker, and a female Chief Justice.

In one of her famous cracks, Santiago joked that the fundamental right of married women is to be loved by their husbands.

"But when you are told to love your neighbor, this does not mean that a man should love all the women in his barangay," Santiago said, sending the crowd of 5,000 into gales of laughter.

Santiago is honoree today, March 9, of the UP Visayas Gender and Development Program, to which she donated the GAD Building for a more effective implementation of the Magna Carta of Women, which she helped to sponsor in the Senate.

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