President Rodrigo Duterte has nominated his co-Presidential candidate back in the 2016 elections for the Quezon Service Cross award.
On Tuesday, Malacañang confirmed that Duterte sent a nomination letter to the Congress to recognize the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago with the said award.
“She inspired generations of Filipinos to aspire for excellence and remain steadfast against any challenge and adversity,” Duterte wrote.
The President also mentioned that Santiago “used her considerable talents for the service of the people and our nation while exhibiting remarkable passion, courage, and integrity.”
Just two days before Santiago’s first death anniversary this September, two of her colleagues in the Senate urged the President to recognize her through the award.
Senator Grace Poe said earlier that she filed the resolution because she believes that this will show that not all politicians are crooks. “On the contrary, there are many in [the] government who remain true to their oath and who uphold public interest over their personal interests,” she said in her sponsorship speech, along with the list of Santiago’s achievements and contributions for 46 years of service.
Santiago authored several laws which included The Magna Carta of Women, Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, Data Privacy Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, Anti-Bullying Act, An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products, Fair Competition Law, Intellectual Property Code, Oil Pollution Compensation Act, Anti-Torture Act, and the Biofuels Act.
“If she were alive today and a sitting senator, I am sure that she will cast the lone dissenting vote, and will berate me for trying to flatter her,” Senator Sonny Angara, who co-sponsored the resolution, said jokingly.
“But seriously, she deserves the Quezon Service Cross. Because rare is the Filipino who had served in the judiciary, the Cabinet and the legislature, and the rarest is the one who served in all with brilliance and distinction. She was a class of her own,” he added.
The Quezon Service Cross was created on August 2, 1946, by President Manuel Roxas in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon. It is the highest award that the Republic of the Philippines can bestow.
For 71 years, only five people have been awarded with this award. They were former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo, the latest recipient; Carlos P Romulo; Emilio Aguinaldo; Ramon Magsaysay; and Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
During the 2016 elections, despite being political rivals for the Presidency, both Duterte and Santiago have expressed admiration and respect for each other, earning the hashtag #DuRiam to trend.