Posted by: Elmer Brabante | March 2, 2011

Tecla San Andres Ziga, First Woman Bar Topnotcher


San Andres Ziga (LP, with glasses) with Doy Laurel (NP), Arturo Tolentino (LP), Jovy Salonga (LP), Eva Estrada Kalaw (NP) and Ninoy Aquino (NP)

Sen. San Andres with Senate giants Salonga, Aquino and Diokno



To Senator Tecla San Andres Ziga belongs the privileged distinction of being the first woman to top the bar examinations in the Philippines, and the first Congresswoman to have been re-elected. That she was counted as one of the more sobering influences in the Senate was due in large measure to her rich background and successful practice in the field of law.

The Senator was born in Naga City on August 28, 1906. She had her first schooling at the Santa Isabel College and her high school at the Catholic Central School. She finished her Liberal Arts and obtained her law degree from the University of the Philippines in 1930. The same year she took the bar and became the first woman to top it. Her score in remedial law was 99%. Immediately, she was taken in as assistant attorney in the DeWitt law office where she worked for seven years.

In 1937 she took the civil service examination for lawyers and after topping it, was employed in the department of justice where she stayed for several years.

In November 1955, she was elected to Congress to serve the unfinished term of her brother – in – law who had died in an accident. In the halls of Congress, she distinguished herself for her vigilant fiscalizing and genuine concern for women and children. Towards this end she sponsored measures for the protection of women and children, regulation of practice in dietetics, etc.

Before her election to the Senate, she served as administrator of the Social Welfare Administration.

In 1963, she was elected to the Senate where she became a member of the following committees: agriculture and natural resources, education, foreign affairs, blue ribbon, community development, social justice and welfare, etc. She was a recipient of varied and countless awards.

She was married to Venancio Ziga, former governor and congressman from the first district of Albay, by whom she only had one son Victor, who himself served as a Senator.


From the Senate website.



  1. Arturo Tolentino(NP) and Ninoy Aquino(LP) not Arturo Tolentino(LP) Ninoy Aquino(NP)


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