In a fitting tribute to Filipino women during the observance of the National Women’s Month, the House Committee on Revision of Laws has unanimously approved a bill clarifying that married women have the right to retain their maiden names instead of adopting the surnames of their husbands.
In a committee meeting on Thursday, March 11, members of the House panel chaired by Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla were made co-authors of House Bill No. 1426 filed by Makati City Rep. Luis Jose Angel N. Campos Jr.
Campos is married to Makati City Mayor Abby Binay who has not adopted the congressman’s surname in public or in politics.
Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo, chairman of the technical working group, endorsed the approval of the measure, saying that there is indeed a need to clarify Article 370 of the Civil Code of the Philippines with regards the use of last names by married women.
Under the bill, a married woman is given the fourth option of retaining her maiden first name and surname. This will be added to the choices available in Article 370.
Campos noted that Article 370 a wedded woman is limited to just three choices: 1. Use her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname; 2. Carry her maiden first name and her husband’s surname 3. Use her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is wife, such as “Mrs.” “However, most Filipinos are not aware that a married woman also has a choice to retain her maiden name,” the Makati solon said.
He noted that in a 1995 ruling, the Supreme Court said a married woman has a “choice to retain her maiden name.” In the case of Hatima C. Yasin vs the Hon. Judge Shari’a District Court Third Shari’a Judicial District, Zamboanga City , the High Court said the use of he husband’s surname during marriage, after annulment of the marriage and after the death of the husband is “permissive and not obligatory.” “This bill does not in any way amend the law, what it does is clarify the choices of surnames a married woman may use after marriage,” said Campos.
He added: “ This will would empower women since he would now have a clear legal provision stating that they have an option to retain theri last name even after marriage.”