Press Release
September 20, 2017


The Quezon Service Cross, the highest recognition of the country, is the most fitting tribute to the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago for her "legacy of dedicated, outstanding and selfless" service to the Filipino people, Sen. Grace Poe said today.

Barely a year after Santiago's death, Poe has filed Senate Resolution No. 508 urging President Rodrigo Duterte to nominate the highly esteemed constitutional and international law expert, author, professor and mother for conferment of the award, posthumously.

"Miriam Defensor Santiago has dedicated her life to public service through her work in all the branches of government: judicial, executive and legislative. Throughout her 46-year career in the public service, Santiago embodied values that she herself demanded of leaders: academic, professional and moral character," Poe said in her resolution.

In urging Malacañang to nominate Santiago for conferment of the award which both houses of Congress must approve, Poe said the late legislator's "crusade against the culture of corruption, steadfastness on the rule of law and determination to hold public officials to a higher standard reverberate across generations."

"Bestowing upon Santiago the Quezon Service Cross will ensure that her legacy of dedicated, outstanding and selfless public service will endure for Filipinos to emulate," said Poe.

Throughout Santiago's 46-year career in government as Presiding Judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Immigration Commissioner, Agrarian Reform Secretary and Senator for three terms, she "embodied values that she herself demanded of leaders: academic, professional and moral excellence."

Santiago was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, dubbed as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, in 1988 for her exemplary government service. She was likewise elevated to the Philippine Judges Association Hall of Fame in 2015 and was awarded 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.

Santiago had consistently filed the most number of bills and resolutions and authored several notable laws including the Reproductive Health Act, Data Privacy Act, Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, Anti-Bullying Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, Anti-Torture Act, Law Restructuring Alcohol and Tobacco Excise Tax, Fair Competition Act, Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act, Intellectual Property Code, Fair Election Act, Oil Pollution Compensation Act, Biofuels Act, and Magna Carta of Women, among others.

As chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, she sponsored the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, United Nations Convention Against Corruption, International Labor Organization Convention on Migration for Employment, Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, Revised Kyoto Convention, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Charter, ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, and ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

She also brought victory to the Philippines in 2013 when she became the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to be elected as Judge of The Hague-based International Criminal Court, an independent body that prosecutes individuals for the most serious crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In 2016, she became a member of the International Advisory Council of the International Development Law Organization.

Joint Resolution No. 4 issued in 1946 created the Quezon Service Cross to be awarded to a person "for exemplary service to the nation in memory of the late President Manuel L. Quezon." The Quezon Service Cross was proposed by President Manuel Roxas in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon to serve as the top recognition a Filipino can receive from the Republic.

A similar petition was filed last year in campaign website "for her selfless, uncompromising, and ardent defense of the Constitution and laws of the Republic, her relentless fight against corruption in government, and her dedicated, meritorious and able service in all three branches of government, all for the betterment of the Filipino nation."

Since its creation, only five people have so far been awarded the Quezon Service Cross: Interior Sec. Jesse M. Robredo (November 2012), Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. (August 2004), President Ramon Magsaysay (July 1957), President Emilio Aguinaldo (June 1956) and President Carlos P. Romulo (April 1951).

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