Senate approves highest civilian award for Miriam Santiago

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, December 11, unanimously adopted a resolution concurring in the posthumous conferment of the Quezon Service Cross to the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The award, which requires concurrence of Congress after nomination of the President, is the highest distinction given to civilians. (READ: Duterte nominates Miriam Santiago for Quezon Service Cross)

Senator Grace Poe sponsored the measure, with senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Richard Gordon as co-sponsors.

The counterpart measure in the House is still pending at the committee level. Once approved, Santiago would be only the 6th Filipino to receive the recognition.

"[This is] awarded to those who possess unselfish devotion to public good. Bestowing this award enables her to live on as our country's north star, inspiring future generations to love the nation," Poe said.

"With the Quezon Service Cross, we enshrine and memorialize Senator Miriam's legacy of service for generations of Filipinos to imbibe and emulate. It is our earnest belief that the Senate's concurrence with President Duterte's nomination is unanimous and unequivocal," Angara said.

Since the Quezon Service Cross was created in 1946, it has so far been awarded to 5 Filipinos:

Magsaysay, Aquino, and Robredo were given the award after their deaths.

Santiago, who died at the age of 71 on September 29, 2016, served the Senate for 3 terms, for a total of 18 years: from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 until 2016. (READ: Miriam Defensor-Santiago: 'God is not out there but in you')

She ran for president 3 times, most recently in the 2016 elections against Poe and Duterte, who both moved for her recognition.

She is recognized as a legal luminary who authored or sponsored many landmark bills including the Reproductive Health Act, Magna Carta for Women, Renewable Energy Law, Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Sin Tax Law, and Climate Change Act. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email