And then there were 6 women senators. Four women to join Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Pia Cayetano in the Senate. File Photo
MANILA - Male senators should watch out and be prepared as more feisty women will soon be joining them in debates and policy-making.
The 2013 mid-term polls will see the most number of women joining the upper house of Congress with the entry of Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, and re-electionist Loren Legarda.
Ateneo de Manila University political analyst Benito O. Lim told ABS-CBNnews.com that the growing influence of women can be seen from the ongoing senatorial count with two women--Poe and Legarda--leading the pack.
Several analysts have explained the “phenomenon” of Poe without pointing out the fact that her being an intelligent woman played a role in her victory, Lim said.
“Nobody could have predicted that she will be number one…Days ago, I was in the squatters’ area, they said they would be voting for Grace Poe. They said, ‘Kawawa kasi ang tatay niya, inapi ni Gloria,’” he said.
But that's not all; Lim said these people saw Poe as “magaling, matalino."
Lim said people, including men, look up to women like Poe. “Back in school, maski kahit ano sabihin natin, kapag matalino ang babae, bow sila [men]," he said.
If “genius” is to be talked about, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is the best example that people want intelligent women in politics.
Lim noted Santiago is already proof that women can challenge men.
Another woman who will be joining the upper house is Nancy Binay. Her story has befuddled many pundits and even the likes of showbiz personality, Vice Ganda.
Lim said Binay is expected to pursue her campaign slogan in the Senate. In her ads, Binay said she is the “Nanay de Pamilya”.
“Years ago, when I talked to the businessmen in Makati, their complaint was napapa-aray sila if [then Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay] asks for something. They said, however, that these help trickle down to the poor. Napapartehan ang mga mahihirap,” he said.
Lim said this could well be the younger Binay’s track in the Senate.
In social media, however, memes of the conservative Binay and the feisty Santiago are circulating, with some netizens pitting both women against each other and Santiago presented as the “bully” of the two.
Lim does not see clashes in the women senators' personalities, however. “As long as their debates will be constructive, I can see women power in the Senate,” he said.
Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Viña agreed.
He said, “With three new women joining the Senate - Poe, Binay, and Villar, we will now have six women senators (assuming Miriam stays on). That's a good thing for the country. As women and in their own right, they will be able to contribute unique perspectives to the challenges the country faces.”
Besides Poe, Binay, and Legarda, Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar is also poised to join the Senate.
Senator Pia Cayetano, the voice of the Reproductive Health Bill and other bills on women’s rights in the Senate, has three more years.
Santiago said she will stay on in the Senate until she is directed to finally join the United Nations International Court of Justice.
“It’s about time that Poe and the others come out with bills that will address the issues such as poverty…In politics, it’s clear that women have been recognized,” Lim said.