House of Representatives

On a treadmill or in her office, Migs Nograles will help make sense of the law

Kaycee Valmonte

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On a treadmill or in her office, Migs Nograles will help make sense of the law

PAANO BA, ATTORNEY? During a 'Young Guns Tuesdays' press conference at the House of Representatives, PBA Representative Margarita Nograles says a P100 minimum wage hike is not enough and there will also be a need to further study its impact on businesses.


The daughter of a former House speaker, PBA Representative Migs Nograles has made a name for herself on TikTok, educating, entertaining, simplifying legal concepts for her followers

While doing her home workout with dumbbells and going on a stationary bike, PBA Representative Margarita “Migs” Nograles instructs her audience how to report their absentee partners and make them accountable under the law.

If partners have caused emotional distress, she says they can be reported to officials. “Tumakbo na kayo sa nearest barangay ‘nyo (Run to your nearest barangay hall),” she says in a sing-song voice while running on a treadmill.

All her other TikTok videos follow the same theme. You’ll see in her an elected public official, who, in her own words, is “makulit (playful).”

“My real personality is, when I’m in the barangays, you will see that I’m really playful. That’s how I talk to people, that’s how I talk to my close friends,” the 33-year-old Migs said in a recent Rappler Talk episode.

“There would be some comments, telling me, ‘You’re a congresswoman…. Why are you acting a bit over-the-top?’ But I always believe you have to be yourself in anything that you do…if you’re comfortable with it.”

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ONLINE ‘PERSONALITY.’ Over on Tiktok, PBA Partylist Representative presents herself as a playful personality, a far cry from how she acts during committee hearings.

She said that it helps trying to be entertaining when doing explainer videos.

Her online character is, however, not the same Migs Nograles the public sees at the House of Representatives and in media interviews. But whether she is the “OA” Attorney Migs on TikTok or the composed Congresswoman Nograles, followers agree that she is more relatable.

Creating video explainers

Many public officials are active on social media. Some have used it to update their constituents on what they are doing and the projects they are implementing, while others have chosen to hop on online trends in a bid to be more popular among netizens.

The neophyte legislator and law professor said she chose to use her platform to help ordinary people understand the law. It’s one of her advocacies after all.

“I don’t think it’s more about people wanting to understand the law because those who wish to understand it want to become lawyers,” Migs said.

“I think it’s more of people wanting to know their options, if their rights get [trampled on], if they get hurt, if their personal rights are violated, and whatnot,” she added.

Migs is the daughter of former House Speaker Prospero “Boy” Nograles and the younger sister of Civil Service Commission chairperson Karlo Nograles. She’s made a name for herself though – quite literally – as her over 400,000 TikTok followers and over 10,000 YouTube subscribers know her better as “Attorney Migs.”

She interacts with her audience directly, responding to those who ask questions through the comments, or answering those who send their queries by email.

The videos are straightforward explainers in Filipino. There’s usually no studio involved – sometimes she’s seen discussing legal concepts at home, other times, she’s in her office at the Batasang Pambansa.

On a treadmill or in her office, Migs Nograles will help make sense of the law

She’s not the only one who uses her profession as a way of creating content. Doctors and those working in the finance industry, among others, are taking their specializations online too. There’s a category for lawyers on TikTok, with videos tagged under #Lawyertok. These professionals-slash-content creators create videos on anything about their work and lifestyle.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales call them the “knowledge influencers” or, in this case, the “lawfluencers.” Anthony Song and Justine Rogers said that these new breed of influencers rely on both personality and expertise to build their audiences and find a way to relate to them.

‘Paano ba, Attorney?’

Migs said it all started in law school when she and her classmates were studying legal terms and were attempting to explain them to each other. “You find out you understand the law when you are able to simplify these terms,” she said.

After getting past the Bar, she started offering free legal aid with her law firm where, she figured, it helps to explain concepts by using real life examples when talking to the greater public.

Then she decided to do explainer videos on social media, where most of her content are uploaded on YouTube and TikTok. It started as Ask Attorney Migs, which she even created an official jingle for in September 2021 – a month before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 national polls.

It was then rebranded into Paano Ba, Attorney? (What do we do, Attorney?) – which has the same initials as the partylist she represents, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA).

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PAANO BA, ATTORNEY? Over on YouTube, PBA Partylist Representative Margarita ‘Migs’ Nograles hosts an online show answering legal queries from her audience.

Her content is based on the trends of questions that she gets, while other videos are based on the current social media chatter.

“It really would depend on what the public wants to know about and I’ll do the script to simplify these growing concerns,” the lawmaker said.

Despite the workload at the House of Representatives and at her law firm, where she remains active in giving legal aid services, the neophyte congresswoman said she wants to continue creating videos as it exposes her to people from all walks of life. “You get to educate, but people really educate you, too.”

“When I talk to people who are actually going through the problems, it makes me realize that some of these bills will be hard to implement. So you have to adjust,” she said.


In a September 2023 video where she shared her “law journey,” Migs described herself as a “medyo (slightly) overachieving Pinay.” She’s armed with multiple education degrees – a bachelor’s degree from Ateneo de Manila University on top of which is a dual degree in Political Science and Economics from Fordham University. She juggled working at Fordham’s law school library and volunteering at a nonprofit organization while she worked on her double degree.

Migs also graduated with a Juris-Doctor and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the De La Salle University and Far Eastern University Consortium, but she took her law and business electives in Europe. She said her weekdays then were spent studying for, and attending her, law classes, while Saturday mornings were devoted to her MBA classes.

“On weekends, after my morning classes, I would do the family business work, or sometimes I would volunteer to teach kids in Makati,” she said. A year before she had to take her Bar, the aspiring lawyer back then volunteered at a review center on weekends – her way of trying to review in advance.

Despite her loaded schedule, Migs graduated at the top of her law class. She recalled her classmates doubting her achievement. “Their logical explanation for this whole thing? They claimed I bought the school, wow ha!” an irked Migs said in the video.

“She studied a lot, she was very studious. She had all the resources needed to study law pero (but) if you compare her to the rest of the batch, she’s average,” a source familiar with her law school days claimed.

Students were said to be surprised after she was named valedictorian since she was said to have ranked number 5 or 6. Being named valedictorian apparently became such an issue that her classmates even asked the school to recompute the grades of honor students in their batch, but the numbers were not released, with school authorities citing the Data Privacy Act.

“She’s okay as a person, really nice,” the source said. “It’s just that one thing that she did na parang natapakan niya ‘yung batch (that it felt like she trampled on the whole batch).”

Migs said she kept information about her grades and official class standing to herself. “Hindi mo naman kasi kailangan magyabang kung feeling mo deserve mo talaga ‘di ba?” (You don’t need to brag about it if you know that you really deserve it.)

She was described as competitive, but her classmates knew, too, that she was pressured to do well, considering her pedigree. The lawmaker said, referring to the former late speaker, My Atenean dad told me, ‘The only time I will ever step foot in La Salle is if I go up the stage and pin your valedictory medal.’

Daddy’s girl

Her office at the Batasang Pambansa is adorned with photos of the Nograles family, including photos with her dad.

Before Migs took the Bar, she and her family went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal. Devotees knelt and circled the chapel while praying and she did, too, but not her dad, Boy Nograles, because of his age.

The former speaker just held her hand as she prayed she would graduate valedictorian. “I think he prayed that I will really do well in the Bar exam. Secretly, I included in my prayer that I would top my class, kasi nga (because), duh! I really wanted him to be there on my graduation sa (at) La Salle,” she said in the video.

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FAMILY PHOTOS. PBA Representative Migs Nograles in her 2023 SONA garb. The walls of her office at the Batasang Pambansa are adorned with photos of her family.

She got what she prayed for, but things didn’t turn out as smoothly as she might have wished. When Migs was delivering her valedictory speech, one of her peers walked out “in behalf of the whole batch.”

Siyempre, during that time, sobrang sakit and gusto kong umiyak noon (Of course, during that time, I was really hurt and I wanted to cry),” Migs recalled. “But then, it dawned on me that the only person I really wanted to be there was there – my dad, of course.”

People, Person, Face
CLASS VALEDICTORIAN. PBA Partylist Margarita ‘Migs’ Nograles got her prayers heard as her father, former House speaker Prospero Nograles, walked her up the stage on graduation day.

Her 2018 graduation was apparently the last time the former House chief got to walk as he was hospitalized after. She reviewed for the Bar while keeping her dad company at the hospital and when results were released, her father greeted her with an enthusiastic, “Attorney!” when she entered his hospital room.

But what should have been a time for celebration quickly turned into a nightmare: a day after Migs passed the Bar, her dad passed away.

In commemorating her dad’s death anniversary in 2023, the lawmaker wrote that she still asks for her dad’s guidance. “In everything I do, and in every single decision I make for PBA, lagi kong iniisip na lang na ang meaning din ng PBA ay ito: Pusong ‘Boy Nogie’ Ako (I always think that PBA also stands for: ‘Boy Nogie’ At Heart),” she said.


While her law school peers don’t seem to be too pleased with her, colleagues at the lower chamber look up to Migs and her work ethic.

“She wants to get things done the soonest,” Lanao del Sur 1st District Representative Zia Alonto Adiong said when asked to describe Migs. “Her schedule is so terrible that I doubt if she ever gets time to relax.”

Another colleague said she’s a good communicator and is active in House matters.

“She makes it a point to study and I think that’s reflective of one’s conscientiousness, about the seriousness of the work we do here. Siyempre hindi puwedeng fun, fun lang – Migs is not like that, she’s really may substance,” TINGOG Representative Jude Acidre told Rappler. (Of course, it can’t always just be fun, fun – Migs is not like that, she really has substance.)

Despite growing up in a family of politicians, Migs said she “was not always sure” of joining the political fray. “But I saw the heart of public service at a young age and it has always been a part of me.”

Her first attempt to enter politics was in 2019, the same year she passed the Bar. She sought a congressional seat under her partylist in 2019 but lost.

At the 19th Congress, she’s vice chairperson of a couple of committees, namely: agrarian reform; civil service and professional regulation; justice, peace, reconciliation and unity; and youth and sports development. These are reflective of her advocacies, which include supporting agriculture, Filipino youth athletes, human rights, justice, and mental health.

Among the bills she was the principal author of are those on amending the country’s anti-agricultural smuggling act and mandating and strengthening state colleges and universities’ mental health services by ensuring that professionals serve their students’ needs.

Dealing with criticism, controversy

In 2022, Migs sought to amend the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (Anti-VAWC) law by including the term “partner” to have the legislation cover men and those in LGBTQ+ relationships.

Gabriela Women’s Partylist did not take this lightly, saying that the inclusion of men in the Anti-VAWC law would “trivialize” the abuse that women experience.

“I do respect it,” Migs told Rappler. “It took a long time before VAWC or women’s rights were recognized and we didn’t want to undermine those efforts, so we’re filing another bill that I’m really just going to consider calling it anti-domestic abuse.”

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PBA REPRESENTATIVE. Congresswoman Margarita ‘Migs’ Nograles joins a ‘Young Guns Tuesdays’ press conference on February 20, 2024.

While there’s constructive criticism from her colleagues, it’s a different story for the hits she’s getting on social media.

Since her involvement in the House probe into Swara Sug Media Corporation – the company operating the fake news channel, SMNI – and after she filed a bill calling on the National Telecommunications Commission to suspend SMNI, fake news against Migs sprouted online. Spliced videos and disinformation against the young lawmaker appeared on the very platforms that made her popular.

Criticisms grew further after Davao 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte linked her and her partylist to the people’s initiative for charter change, a public petition marred by allegations of bribery.

“Even before the Senate probe, there were personalities that have connected me to [the People’s Initiative]. If I really did something and you can prove it, then file a case,” Migs said.

SMNI lawyers would later claim that she went after the network because of local competition between her family and the Dutertes, which she denied. “It’s scary that they are making these implications that do not have any basis,” she told reporters in February.

Members of the Duterte and Nograles families had a rivalry that spanned over three decades and which started when the patriarchs slugged it out for Davao City mayor in 1992. The two would compete against each other again in 2001 for a seat at the House of Representatives. Rodrigo won both times, but he also pointed fingers at the elder Nograles for linking him to the infamous Davao Death Squad.

They have since buried the hatchet – in 2015, the elder Nograles and his son Karlo backed Duterte when he ran for the presidency in 2016. Karlo also served as Duterte’s Cabinet secretary from 2018 to 2022 and was acting presidential spokesman in 2021. In 2022, Karlo was appointed by Duterte chair of the Civil Service Commission, a post he got confirmation for when he was also chosen by Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Looking back at her early years as a public official, Migs Nograles said she “does not regret anything” despite some of the negative and painful experiences in public office. The young lawmaker declared: “At least I can sleep well at night, right?”

Asked during her Rappler Talk interview about what’s next – especially since her term ends in 2025 – she said: “In terms of what is next, gosh, I can’t even think of what to do next week…. But, hopefully, with my show, with PBA, we get to continue serving the people doing what we do and help more people, educate more people the best way that I can and know how.” –

Some statements have been translated to English and shortened for brevity.


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  1. NP

    House of Rep young guns Atty Migs and Atty Gutierrez are my idols in the Lower House. They have substance. I hope they team up with Vico Sotto and run for Senator come 2025/2028.

  2. ET

    A very talented lady, indeed, has great potential to become a Senator in the 2025 midterm election. But she could also be a formidable adversary against those who will advocate for the passage of an enabling law on the anti-political dynasty provision of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

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Kaycee Valmonte

Kaycee Valmonte is a multimedia reporter who covers politics in the House of Representatives and public health.