Sunday, 2 December 2018
President Duterte to confer Quezon Service Cross on Miriam Santiago
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to formally confer the Quezon Service Cross on the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, making her the first female recipient of the highest civilian service award in the Philippines.
The award will be conferred posthumously at a ceremony in Malacañang on December 3, according to the President’s schedule released to the media on Friday.
In compliance with the award’s requirements, Duterte endorsed Santiago’s name to Congress for its approval late last year.
The Senate approved the nomination on December 11, 2017 while the House of Representatives gave its concurrence on February 20, 2018.
Before Santiago, only five people have been given the award since its creation in 1946 in memory of the late President Manuel Quezon.
The Quezon Service Cross have been awarded posthumously to former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo (November 2012), former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. (August 2004) and former President Ramon Magsaysay (July 1957).
Receiving the award during their lifetime were former President Emilio Aguinaldo (June 1956) and former United Nations General Assembly President Carlos Romulo (April 1951).
"Throughout her life, Miriam Defensor Santiago used her considerable talents for the service of our people and our nation while exhibiting remarkable passion, courage, and integrity,” Duterte said in his letter to then-Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III dated November 20, 2017.
“She inspired generations of Filipinos to aspire for excellence and remain steadfast against any challenge and adversity. Truly, she has been an agent of positive and meaningful change in our society. For this reason, she deserves the highest recognition that the Republic can confer," the letter stated.
Known for her intellectual brilliance, feisty personality and use of humor that endeared her to young Filipinos, Santiago was a trial court judge, immigration commissioner, agrarian reform secretary and a senator for three terms.
She ran for president three times but lost to Fidel Ramos in 1992, Joseph Estrada in 1998 and Duterte in 2016.
She was elected judge of the International Criminal Court in 2011 but decided to give up the post in 2014 due to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Santiago initially could not sit in the ICC because she had to wait for a sitting judge to finish all of his or her pending cases.
The former senator’s 46-year career in government earned her several accolades, which included the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, in 1988; the Philippine Judges Association Hall of Fame in 2015; The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service Award for Law in 1986; and Outstanding Young Men Award for Law in 1985, among others.
Santiago died in September 2016 following a two-year battle with lung cancer.
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