Highest civil service award for Miriam Defensor-Santiago pushed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — Senators Grace Poe and Sonny Angara filed resolutions seeking to posthumously award the Quezon Service Cross to the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

"The Quezon Service Cross...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," Poe said in a statement.

The Quezon Service Cross, the highest civil service award in the country, was created in 1946 through Joint Resolution No. 4.

According to the law, it is awarded by the President, as concurred by Congress, to Filipino citizens "for exemplary service to the nation 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."

Poe and Angara filed their resolutions days before the first death anniversary of Santiago.

READ: Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago dies

Santiago died of lung cancer on Sept. 29, 2016, months after losing the presidential election to President Rodrigo Duterte.

"As senator, Senator Miriam had bipartisan respect and support, and this resolution in her honor will be passed in the same manner," Angara said.

Angara's Senate Resolution 517 will be consolidated with Poe's Senate Resolution 508.

"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," Angara added.

Aside from three terms in the Senate, Santiago's other positions were presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Immigration commissioner, and Agrarian Reform secretary.

"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.

Santiago was also the first Filipino elected as judge of the International Criminal Court.

She was also a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is dubbed as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize.

Only five individuals were awarded the Quezon Service Cross, namely, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo in 2012, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. in 2004, President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957, President Emilio Aguinaldo in 1956, and President Carlos P. Romulo in 1951.