Press Release
August 23, 2015


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, the most-awarded public official in the country, has gained another citation on Sunday, as she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Iloilo Chapter).

Santiago was given the award at the premier state university's alumni and faculty homecoming in Iloilo City. She was represented by her sister, former Higher Education Commissioner Nenalyn Defensor.

"I am deeply grateful for the award. I would have gone if it were physically possible but I am inhibited by my lung cancer," the senator said in a message.

Santiago is one of the most prominent U.P. graduates in government. She graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, magna cum laude, from U.P. Visayas in 1965.

UP alumni in Iloilo cited Santiago "for truly living the U.P. culture of excellence" and "for putting the Ilonggos in the global map through the many awards, recognition, and citations she has received."

The senator also brought "honor to U.P. and the Ilonggos as graft-buster of the country and protector of the welfare of the Filipinos by adhering, at all cost, to truth, honesty, independent mindedness, and justice," the citation read further.

Santiago later enrolled at the U.P. College of Law, and was the first female editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, U.P's nationally prominent student publication. She was also councilor, and later vice-chairperson, of the University Student Council.

During her time in U.P. law school, the senator was called the "super girl at the state university" by a national daily, and was twice presented the Wenceslao Q. Vinzons Achievement Award for Student Leadership.

The senator graduated from the U.P. College of Law, cum laude, in 1969. She returned to U.P. in 1976 to teach constitutional law and remedial law. In 1988, the premier state university named her Most Outstanding Alumna in Law.

Santiago received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, as immigration commissioner in 1988. She was cited for "bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency."

In 2011, Santiago became the first Asian from a developing country to be elected judge of the International Criminal Court.

Santiago is on medical leave due to lung cancer, stage four, but continues to file the highest number of bills and resolutions among senators. In July, Santiago announced that she plans to join the presidential race with her cancer in check.

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