A feisty solon turns caring wife, diligent mother when at home

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(Editor’s Note: With a little less than a month before the mid-term elections in May, INQUIRER.net has decided to deviate from the usual platform interviews of senatorial and local candidates that have been aired and written about and instead get to know them up close and, perhaps a little more personal, as we hope so will you our dear readers. The series of interviews will be posted on our special election site, Vote 2013 under INQuest. Is the exercise meant to make these candidates look good? Definitely not. But we enjoin you to watch and listen and let your candidates tell their stories because, believe it or not, their stories are ours as well.)

MANILA, Philippines — She loomed as a dragon lady at the House of Representatives that even former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became cautious of her.

So claims Zambales Representative Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay who on the other hand also says when at home is anything but a virago.

The 15th Congress of the House of Representatives, in which Magsaysay belonged, went through a tumultuous period for tackling contentious bills, including the reproductive health (RH) bill. It was the time the nation saw Magsaysay vigorously stand up against the reproductive health bill, advancing the cause of pro-life groups and haunting RH advocates.

But at heart, Magsaysay claims she is an ordinary mother and caring wife of Jesus Vicente Magsaysay II.

“My masculine side only comes out in politics. When I am at home, I am very motherly. What they see in public is not how I am in private,” the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate tells INQUIRER.net on INQuest: Vote 2013.

She declares she is very feminine.

“I’m very malambing (sweet), I’m very cariñosa (charming) to my husband, my children. I dote on them very much and I make sure that even when I’m busy, I have time for them,” she said.

“As long as my family is whole, I’m saying well, this is just part of the job. It is not who we are in real life [as long as] my kids are with me, my husband is with me. At the end of the day when my stint in politics ends, the only thing that matters to me is my family,” says the UNA candidate.

She maintains she can be “very respectful, down-to-earth” and adds, “I don’t expect special treatment and it’s been like that since day one.”

“Politics is a fleeting job. I’m only feisty when the microphone in the committee hearing is [on] or the plenary hall is [bursting with activities].”

Because of her fiery speeches, Magsaysay has often been compared to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago but she vows to correct this perception when she makes it to the Senate.

Magsaysay agrees she and Senator Santiago live boldly, a characteristic that does not fall under the stereotype “dalagang Filipina,” but begs to make one thing clear: “She [Santiago] makes outbursts. I don’t.”

Still, her forceful speeches at the House left many “wary” of her, including former President Arroyo.

“I’ve hit her administration many times before. She was wary of me. I was not close to her [and] I never patronized her,” she says.

But at the end of the day, she says she values her family most.

“Anything to do officially as a lawmaker, I am feisty. Outside, I am not feisty at all. It’s not [a front but] I just have to ask those questions,” adds Magsaysay.

More of the interview on Mitos Magsaysay on INQuest: Vote 2013.

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