Editor's note: As we begin our countdown to the May 9 election, we put a spotlight on the three women, all mothers, running in the presidential and vice presidential election, and their stand on issues close to a parent's heart. Read their to-do list for the Filipino family here (Congresswoman Leni Robredo) and here (Senator Grace Poe).
Who doesn’t know Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago? She’s one of the most colorful personalities in Philippine politics but not because she’s a square peg in a round hole.
Sen. Defensor-Santiago is in fact one of the brightest legal luminaries this country has ever seen, known for her legal acumen, her no-nonsense attitude, and her clean political record. Her career is notable for having rendered public service in all three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and the judiciary. Her renown extends beyond our country’s borders--she became the first Asian from a developing nation to be named a judge in the International Criminal Court.
Those old enough might remember that Senator Santiago already ran for president back in 1992. The young ones, however, may remember her for her funny quips. She tries her luck once more this year.
On same-sex marriage “Marriage is a union founded on the distinction of sex. That contracting parties must be of different sex is, in fact, a requirement under the provisions on legal capacity. Accordingly, this bill seeks to amend Article 26 to remove a misleading presumption, until society changes attitude while exhibiting compassion for same-sex relationships.” (interaksyon.com)
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On divorce “I think that divorce should be availed by people who become homicidal at the sight of each other. That is much better than making each other miserable for the rest of their lives, and impacting the lives of their children as well.” (philstar.com)
On birth control “I take the position that there is an individual right to use artificial contraception, such as condoms… The Catholic religious should get real.” (miriam.co,ph)
On children and natural disasters "Children are the most vulnerable in times of disaster. They are at higher risk of disease, abuse, and exploitation. They are place-oriented, and cannot cope well to changes that result from disaster… Although we have laws which address the issue of children in especially difficult circumstances, these laws do not include enough provisions which pertain to child protection during a state of calamity.” (senate.gov)
On income tax reduction “The Philippine tax system is 20 years old. It needs to be overhauled. But major tax reforms are best done at the start of each administration when the President has the clear mandate from the voters. I promise to reform it within six months of my administration.” (inquirer.net)
On the importance of education “Maybe we can run a survey on the Internet and find out what the educated young think about all this circus in politics. Kaya nagiging corrupt kasi wala silang moral character, mahina ang moral character nila dahil sa kulang ang edukasyon. So, this all starts with voter education.” (senate.gov)
On improving the traffic situation “Motoring mayhem has killed in the past and will continue to snuff out lives in the future. The carnage must stop. In view of the foregoing, immediate passage of the bill is hereby sought…Primarily, the psycho-technical assessment test would ensure the improvement of traffic safety. Indeed, professional drivers, and those drivers dealing with dangerous vehicles must be assessed to guarantee the public that they possess the necessary knowledge demanded by the job.” (inquirer.net)
On Internet and the free public Wi-Fi project "Government efforts to pursue ICT projects are laudable. We cannot lag behind other countries on that front. But before the government can even dream of implementing big-ticket projects, it must improve the capacity of responsible agencies." (philstar.com)
On the Freedom of Information Act “When elected, my first act is to have the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) enacted into law. This is an important tool to promote public accountability…The Freedom of Information bill deserves to be passed first if only to enhance transparency and public accountability. The posting of information on the official websites is not a substitute for the FOI bill.” (inquirer.net)
On Martial Law "I do not think that on a family basis, the Marcoses as a family owe us an apology… What they were doing were, in their ideas, [in] the best interest of the Filipino people… I think what should happen is there should be a forthright disclosure of all documents and written remembrances of those times so we can agree at least on what the facts were.” (rappler.com)
On the elections “We should not reelect any senators or congressmen running for reelection in 2016, if they are among those against whom the Ombudsman will file criminal charges for plunder or malversation of public funds in the Sandiganbayan… If the Ombudsman files a case against a reelectionist for plunder in the Sandiganbayan, this means that she has in her possession enough evidence to allow the trial court to rule in favor of the government.” (miriam.com.ph)
On being environment-friendly We are resource-rich but income-poor, partly because we view environmental protection as a road block to development. That should not be the case. What we are doing is ensuring that whatever gains we get now will be enjoyed by generations to come.” (miriam.com.ph)
On better health care for women and children “The total fertility rate has been going down, but poor women are still having twice as many children as they desire. Moreover, a rising trend in teenage pregnancy and delivery has been observed… [these] lead to an increase in maternal deaths, and are strongly associated with inadequate access to family planning information, goods, and services among poor and young women… Poor mothers in rural communities are more than five times as likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. This reflects the inability of poor women to access family planning—something that rich women take as a given… A health system is weak if it fails to protect women and children.” (miriam.com.ph)