Senate urges Duterte to nominate late Senator Defensor-Santiago for the Quezon Service Cross award

The Senate adopted today a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to nominate the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago for the Quezon Service Cross in recognition of her exemplary contribution to the nation as a public servant.

Resolution 508 was introduced by Senator Grace Poe in consideration of Resolution 517, which was introduced by Senator Sony Angara.

Poe said “Miriam Defensor Santiago 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.

As Presiding Judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Santiago implemented a no-postponement policy which allowed her to dispose of a record number of cases and unclog the court of old cases, the resolution said.

She instituted reforms in the Immigration Commission when she was the bureau’s commissioner, earning her the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, “for bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency,” the resolution added.

“Santiago stopped the so-called conversion scandal when she was the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, wherein landowners lobbied to have their agricultural lands reclassified as commercial, industrial, or residential lands to subvert the law,” according to the resolution.

During her time in the Senate, Santiago consistently filed the highest number of bills and resolutions, and authored some of the most important laws of our time, including but not limited to, the following: the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, the Data Privacy Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, and the Anti-Bullying Act, among others.

Santiago’s contribution has been recognized through the prestigious awards given her throughout her career like the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service (1988); the Outstanding Young Men Award for Law (1985); the Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award for Law (1986); Philippine Judges Association Hall of Fame, (2015); YMCA Philippines Gold Vision Triangle Award for Government Service (1988); Civic Assembly of Women of the Philippines Republic Anniversary Award for Law Enforcement (1988); Girl Scouts of the Philippines Golden Jubilee Achievement Award for Public Service (1990); University of the Philippines Most Outstanding Alumna in Law (1988), and the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Iloilo Chapter) (2015).

“Santiago is a highly esteemed expert in constitutional and international law and has, through such recognition, earned for the Philippines honor and respect from the international community. She authored numerous law books, some of which have been cited by the Supreme Court in its decisions,” Poe said.

She said Santiago was elected by states party to the Rome Statute as Judge of the International Criminal Court, becoming the first Filipino and the first Asian from a developing country to hold such a seat and in 2016, became a member of the International Advisory Council of the International Development Law Organization.

“Santiago’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,” Poe said.

Joint Resolution No. 4 S. 1946 under then President Manuel A Roxas created the Quezon Service Cross “for exemplary service to the nation in memory of the late President Manuel L. Quezon”, and is intended to be “the highest national recognition of outstanding civilian service in the gift of the Republic”.

Joint Resolution No. 4 S. 1946 also states that the Quezon Service Cross is granted by the President of the Republic, with the concurrence in each case by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and that the service recognized through the Quezon Service Cross must be in “such a manner and such a degree as to add great prestige to the Republic of the Philippines, or as to contribute to the lasting benefit of its people”. (Yvonne A. Almirañez)

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