Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago sure knows how to make her presence felt despite her absence at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday.
Even if she was still on sick leave a day after SONA, Santiago reveals a plan to file a resolution which would prescribe an official uniform for solons attending SONAs in the future.
“I watched TV and could not stand it. The SONA event should be a serious time for the Congress to pick up policy directions indicated by the President,” Santiago said.
“It should not be treated as Oscar night in Hollywood, with a red carpet, where peacocks spread their tails and turn around and around, as coached by media in a feeding frenzy,” she added.
In the last few years, the feisty senator decried how lady lawmakers and senators, even their spouses, showed off their dresses produced by designers.
She noted the spotlight about SONA should be put on President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, not on the flashy women or men parading on the red carpet.
"The highlight of the SONA is the President. It is not the flashy women. Now the flaky men are even getting into the act,” Santiago said.
“They also parade, sometimes with photogenic arm candy, into the session hall and preen like their female counterparts. Enough!" she pointed out.
This prompted her to file a resolution prescribing an official uniform for Congress members to prevent lawmakers from reducing their position to mere “endorsers of expensive designers.”
Santiago reminded lawmakers that the law frowns on conspicuous consumption which she called "the obsession to bling."
Citing Article 25 of the Civil Code, Santiago said thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display public events may be stopped by order of the courts “at the instance of any government or private charitable institution."
She insisted that clothes should simply put distinction on the members of Senate and House of Representatives from those who are not.
Santiago suggested women to wear short pencil skirt, paired with a simple-sleeved barong blouse that can be accentuated with a single strand of Philippine pearls.
The veteran senator added that men should be a plain long-sleeved barong, noting both men and women could wear a ceremonial ribbon with the Congress logo.
She added those attending SONA in the gallery must wear an office attire.
"Most important of all, the attitude should not be frivolous and giggly. The attitude should be serious and businesslike," Santiago said.
Santiago clarified she is very proud of local fabrics and designers, who reinvent Filipino traditional dresses and costumes.
“Don't get me wrong. I am very proud of our local fabrics and our local designers, some of whom are world-class. But the SONA event is not the proper venue for their talents," she explained.