Press Release
December 11, 2017


The late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is set to be the latest recipient of the prestigious Quezon Service Cross, the highest award the nation can bestow on a person for outstanding civilian service, Sen. Grace Poe confirmed today.

Poe, who earlier brought to the Senate floor a resolution urging the President to nominate Santiago for the award, has filed Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 8 concurring in the posthumous conferment of the Quezon Service Cross to the late lawmaker.

"In typical Miriam fashion, she managed to exceed her fellow awardees as the first female recipient of the Quezon Service Cross. That's Senator Miriam for you, always striving to be the first or the best," Poe said in sponsoring the resolution.

Five years since the previous highest award for Filipinos was bestowed on the late Interior Sec. Jesse Robredo, Santiago becomes the sixth in history and the only woman to receive the award.

Only five people have been awarded the Quezon Service Cross: Robredo (November 2012), Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. (August 2004), President Ramon Magsaysay (July 1957), President Emilio Aguinaldo (June 1956) and President Carlos P. Romulo (April 1951).

"The inscription on the Quezon Service Cross reads: Sic Floret Res Publica, 'Let the Republic flourish'. Perhaps it should also read: 'Amor Mundi', or 'To Love the World'. Senator Miriam's love for country drove her to greatness and to serve with fervor and utmost dedication her fellow Filipinos until death. Bestowing this award upon the former senator enables her to live on as our country's north star, inspiring future generations to love the nation and serve it in the best way they can," Poe added.

Both the Senate and the House need to concur with the proclamation for conferment of the award.

The move comes as President Rodrigo Duterte adopted Poe's recommendation some three months ago to award the highest civilian medal to Santiago, posthumously.

"Even at an early age, Miriam Defensor Santiago displayed exceptional intelligence, talent and skill--qualities that she demonstrated in all of her endeavours over the decades. Her brilliance gave her the chance to land lucrative careers in the private sector, yet she chose to join government and serve the Filipino people," Duterte said in his letter to Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III dated Nov. 20.

"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. 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 read.

The President's message was read at the Senate plenary session last Nov. 29 and was referred to the Senate committee on rules.

Santiago's 46-year stellar 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; outstanding alumna of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Iloilo Chapter) in 2015; Girl Scouts of the Philippines Golden Jubilee Achievement Award for Public Service in 1990; YMCA Philippines Gold Vision Triangle Award for Government Service in 1988; Civic Assembly of Women of the Philippines Republic Anniversary Award for Law Enforcement in 1988; University of the Philippines' Most Outstanding Alumna in Law in 1988; The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service Award for Law in 1986; and Outstanding Young Men Award for Law in 1985.

Congress institutionalized the award through the approval of Joint Resolution No. 4 in 1946. The award is granted to a person for exemplary service to the nation in memory of the late President Quezon.

"Santiago was known to be fearless in her views and always blunt with her words; a paragon of passion, courage and integrity; and the embodiment of the very characteristics she demanded in any public servant: academic, professional and moral excellence," Poe said in the resolution.

"The values, ideals and service demonstrated by former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago compare favorably to the standard exemplified in public service by the late President Manuel L. Quezon," the resolution read.

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