MALACAÑANG — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, December 3, spearheaded the historical posthumous awarding of the Quezon Service Cross to the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
During his speech, President Duterte mentioned that he was grateful to honor an esteemed lawmaker, constitutionalist, and a stateswoman like Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
“I am deeply honored to lead the Filipino people in conferring to the late Senator the Quezon Service Cross — the highest recognition for outstanding civilian service by the Republic of the Philippines,” the Chief Executive gladly said.
He also spoke of Senator Santiago’s commitment to public service – serving the Filipinos for almost 50 years in two branches of government (Judiciary and Legislature). He believed that throughout Santiago’s stellar career, she embodied the highest standards expected of any public servant with her academic, professional, and moral excellence.
“In the Senate, she would make her mark not just by crafting crucial legislation that shaped the future of our nation, but also by helping formulate policies that touched the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” he said.
“Senator Santiago’s skills, intellect, and dedication to public service had been recognized by various organizations in the Philippines and around the world, the most prestigious of which is the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s counterpart of the Nobel Prize, for Government Service,” he added.
She was also dubbed as the “Iron Lady of Asia” for her no-nonsense drive against graft and corruption. Therefore, President Duterte compared Senator Santiago to the late President Manuel L. Quezon for her values, ideals, and dedication to public service.
“Throughout her life, Senator Santiago profoundly stirred our nation, especially the youth, to challenge pre-conceived notions on political and social issues,” he said.
The President is hopeful that apart from recognizing Santiago’s exemplary contributions to society, she will serve as an inspiration to a generation of Filipinos who will use their talents for the benefit of the country and their fellowmen.
He also encouraged everyone to do their part, however small, in helping bring about positive change in the country.
“May Senator Santiago’s shining example be the legacy that we will leave behind to future generations of Filipinos. Let her memory serve as the light that will guide us towards a more progressive, inclusive and equitable society,” he reiterated.
Before having been elected to the Senate for three terms, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago previously served as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, then afterwards as Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, and eventually as Secretary of Agrarian Reform during the administration of the late President Corazon C. Aquino.###PND