Pia asserts the right of women under the Civil Code to use their maiden name in their passport
Transcript of the manifestation and proposed amendment of Senator Pia S. Cayetano on the New Passport Act
Thank you. Mr President, I just want to put on record that I was listed to make my amendments since last week and even in the agenda yesterday, my name was there. I am mentioning it only, Mr President, because I am not asking for any special favors. My name was listed, and it has been a practice in the Senate that if you are listed, you will be given the chance to take the floor and make your interpellation or your amendments.
And so it was a great surprise to me that while I was on official business – my letter informing the Senate that I was attending a conference on futures thinking in Kuala Lumpur, has been submitted – a bill that I had a very simple amendment [to], proceeded without me being told and was actually closed. So yun lang naman po, I am a team player, nakikisama ako, but I also like to follow the rules. And I feel it is incumbent upon the sponsor to also let us know if there’s a reason that I will not be able to make my amendment. Because I would have very happily submitted my amendments to keep it simple.
On that note, your honor, I also owe this to the Minority Floor Leader because he was the one who brought up that issue. And I recall having a discussion also in the presence of the Deputy Minority Floor Leader because it is an issue that affects women and the use of the maiden name. So I assured the Minority Floor Leader that ako na ang bahala, yung napansin mong issue, I will take care of it. Tapos sabi pa niya sa akin, ‘oh ikaw na ha? Hindi ko na yan iintindihin.’ Sabi ko, ‘ako na. Handa ako to make my amendment.’ So yun lang naman po to put it on record. Because I do not want this to happen to anyone else. I was gone for one day. So, I’d like to proceed now, given that…
But that timeline includes my right to make my amendment, and with Viber and Whatsapp, I am a call away. So, nakakagulat lang. Again, I have been in the Senate for almost 20 years, I have always tried to act with courtesy, with respect. And to me, it’s basic courtesy na somebody’s name is there for how many days, hindi naman ako nakaabala, hindi naman ako nag-request na i-postpone para sa akin. Basic courtesy po na bigyan po ako ng opportunity na gawin ang amendment ko, na tawagin niyo ako kung gusto kong i-submit at ibigay sa inyo. So, when you say na sumusunod lang, sana kasama doon sa sinusunod niyong rules yung courtesy rin sa gustong mag-amend na mabigay din ng amendments. So yun lang. I am ready to proceed, your honor.
So my amendment, your honor, has to do with…and by the way, if I may just? Hindi na rin ako nag-interpellate, because to save the sponsor time, I will just make my explanation during the time of amendments. Kaya again, medyo bothersome lang na hindi ko na nga magawa yun kung hindi pa tayo nag-reopen ngayon.
So ngayon, gagawin ko na yung gusto kong gawin, which is to explain why the existing provision in the bill is inconsistent with the Civil Code provision and the policy that a woman may use her maiden name. So ako po, ang pangalan ko is Pilar Juliana S. Cayetano. Hiwalay po ako, pero kahit na hindi ako hiwalay, kahit na nung kasal ako, I always used Cayetano. The Civil Code, our laws of the land recognize that. Okay? Now, in the Passport Law, may provisions diyan which somehow impair that right, and then in the existing bill that we are tackling, nalilimitahan din ang paggamit ng maiden name ng isang babae. So gusto ko itong i-rectify. Yun lang naman ang purpose ko. Gusto kong magbigay ng amendment kung saan we will be consistent with the Civil Code that allows a woman to use their maiden name.
As a background, to also keep it simple, after the sponsor, I believe, was informed of the specific concern I had, some of the resource persons, including, specifically DFA, came over to discuss with my staff on their concern that kapag pinayagan daw natin na ang isang babae na gumagamit ng married name ay baguhin yun at ibalik niya sa kanyang maiden name, so from married name, ibabalik niya sa maiden name niya, baka daw mahirapan sila kapag may mga hold departure order. Eh sabi ko naman, pareho lang naman yung speech ni Senate President two weeks ago na kung gusto mo sugpuin ang trafficking, hindi naman pwedeng ang solusyon mo ay ipagbawal lahat, para mo nang pinagbawal lahat na bumyahe, di ba? To use their maiden name is a right. So, we can work with language that will ensure that hindi naman whimsical, hindi naman capricious, hindi naman yung ngayon, married name, next month, balik ako sa maiden name. Next year, balik na naman. Hindi naman ho ganun. So to make this whole discourse simpler, I believe the Office of the Senate President, along with the sponsor, made some changes to the language I proposed, and I am okay with it. And with the sponsor’s permission, I’ll just read it to the record.
So, on Page 10, delete Lines 10-16, and replace with: “Letter F. For a woman who wishes to revert to the use of her maiden name, a duly authenticated birth certificate by the PSA, Provided that she can only revert to her maiden name once, and all her other existing identification cards and pertinent documents shall likewise reflect her maiden name.” We submit.
Thank you. And just to reiterate, your honors, ang objective natin is to support ang request ng ating agencies na hindi sila mahirapan na iba-ibang pangalan, iba-ibang ID, hindi naman yun ang gusto natin, we are just securing the right of a woman to use her maiden name. Thank you very much to the sponsor. Thank you, Mr President.
I am not saying that… I am not yet stating that I am not yet amenable. But the main reason for my amendment is precisely, you do not need these events to happen for you to retain your maiden name. These are not required. So my concern is, we may be creating a situation na parang we are amending the Civil Code. And that is how statutory construction works. Because under the rules of statutory construction, they give way to a special law. So when you introduce these facts of life, yung may divorce siya, you are saying that that’s when she can change her name, I am saying that the general rule is, you can change your name. You do not need for these things to happen. Not to mention, what brought this whole discussion up was the Minority Floor Leader’s question on, kapag legally separated ba, can you change your name? Napaisip din ako nun, no because you are still married. But wait, the general rule is, you can. You can use your maiden name. Pero si legal separation is not in the same line as all of these. Kasi in all of these situations mentioned, wala na siyang asawa. Pero si legal separation, may asawa pa siya. So iba pa ngang animal ang legal separation. So, I need a moment to figure out…
It’s not a problem for me, I’ve always used my maiden name.
That’s why I said I need time to look at it because that’s obviously a valid situation.
FINAL WORDING OF SEN. PIA CAYETANO’S AMENDMENT
Mr President, upon conferring with the sponsor, I would like to withdraw my previous amendment, if we could act on that first, and then make a new amendment. So I move to withdraw my first amendment. Thank you. And instead propose the following:
“On the same page, Line 10, insert a new Subsection F: ‘For a woman who wishes to revert to the use of her maiden name, a duly authenticated birth certificate by the PSA, Provided that she can only revert to her maiden name once and all her other existing identification cards and pertinent documents shall likewise reflect her maiden name.’” We submit.
And just to ask that the subsequent letters be lettered accordingly to reflect the change.
So, maybe let’s explain it so it’s on record also. Upon conferring as I said with the sponsor and the resource person, we agree to retain the original F to reflect that these would be common reasons that women would be reverting. But the provision that this representation inserted would really be the general rule, recognizing the Civil Code provision that a woman may use their maiden name.
It will be the first Letter F and this existing Letter F will become a G.
It is. But may I just… If her honor would recall, I said give me a few minutes to really think of the effects of this provision. I’ll tell you now, it takes time. I am not a magician. I cannot think of all the possible scenarios. But I just realized now, again if the general rule is a woman can revert to her [maiden] name anytime, consistent with the Civil Code… If my marriage would be annulled, there is a declaration of nullity, legal separation, lahat ito impose pa nga another requirement. When I could just rely on the first paragraph and present my birth certificate. So, I don’t know if the future law students will see this as redundant or unnecessary?
There might actually be a better way of saying that din? Kasi nga, I mean, I submit to her sponsor. If this was not being rushed, I think we can improve on it further. But I submit to her sponsor if there will be a bicam. You may request DFA to help you word it better because I think we can afford better wording. I submit na lang po. #