Senator Miriam Santiago proposes official SONA uniform for lawmakers

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago plans to file a resolution that would prescribe an official uniform for lawmakers attending the SONA.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Photo:
Yahoo! News reports that the feisty senator again “decried how lady lawmakers and senators, even their spouses, showed off their dresses produced by designers.” Now, she reportedly said, “men are even getting into the act.”

The lady senator noted the spotlight should be on President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, “not on the flashy women or men parading on the red carpet” during the State of the Nation Address.

Santiago, who was not able to attend the 2013 SONA as she was on sick leave, does not want members of Congress to “reduce their position” to mere “endorsers of expensive designers.”

Santiago cited Article 25 of the Civil Code, which provides:

“Thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display during a period of acute public want or emergency may be stopped by order of the courts at the instance of any government or private charitable institution.”

Authors note: There’s another applicable provision of law. Section 4 (Norms of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees) of Republic Act No. 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” says:

“(A) Every public official and employee shall observe the following as standards of personal conduct in the discharge and execution of official duties:

(h) Simple living. - Public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form (emphasis supplied).”

Santiago, the report said, suggested that women must “wear short pencil skirt, paired with a simple-sleeved barong blouse that can be accentuated with a single strand of Philippine pearls” while men should be in “plain long-sleeved barong.”

She noted that solons could “wear a ceremonial ribbon with the Congress logo.” Those in the gallery, she added, “must wear an office attire.”

In earlier interviews, some Filipino designers proudly said they’re promoting local fabric by using it for their clients’ dresses.

Senator Miriam Santiago reportedly clarified she is “very proud of local fabrics and designers, some of whom are world-class,” but “the SONA event,” she reportedly said, “is not the proper venue for their talents.”