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Santiago, Jardeleza receive highest awards in 2015 UPV alumni homecoming

Iloilo City, Philippines – August 26, 2015 – Two of the most highly regarded personalities in the judicial field received the highest awards during the 2015 U.P. Alumni and Faculty Homecoming Dinner and Awards Night held on August 23, 2015 at the Diversion 21 Hotel, Iloilo City.

 Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza (High School 1965, Bachelor of Arts 1969) and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago (Bachelor of Arts 1965) were given the Most Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, respectively.

Jardeleza was the Most Distinguished Alumnus awardee for his “competence, integrity, probity and independence that led to his appointment as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, thus giving honor to UP and the Ilonggo community; for his brilliance in the practice of the legal profession especially in handling unpopular cases locally and internationally; and for truly living the UP culture of excellence and selflessness by sharing his expertise in teaching and mentoring future law professionals.”

In his speech, he acknowledged the many personalities that were instrumental to his receiving the award, which includes his 1965 high school batch mates, who celebrated their golden jubilee.

Jardeleza, who was recently appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines to replace former Associate Justice Roberto Abad, finished his high school and earned his Bachelor of Arts from then UP Iloilo College (now UPV). He earned his law degree from UP Diliman College of Law, where he graduated salutatorian in 1974. He placed third in the bar exams the same year. He later obtained a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School. He went into government service in 2010 where he became Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, and later Solicitor General of the Philippines.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Santiago “for putting the Ilonggos in the global map through the many awards and citations she has received from the local and international community; for truly living the UP culture of excellence as shown in the books she has published, the bills she has filed, and the laws she has authored; for her sterling performance in serving the three branches of government during her long career as a public servant; and for bringing honor to UP 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.”

Dr. Nenalyn Defensor, Santiago’s sister, represented the senator who could not come due to her illness. Defensor, delivering the acceptance speech said, “When she [Santiago] received the announcement of her award she said, ‘What the heck, I’m not yet dead!” She went on to deliver Santiago’s message. “I will make this short; otherwise, you will not believe I am suffering from stage four lung cancer.” She ended by saying, “I would have gone if it was physically possible but I am inhibited by my lung cancer. I would have liked to give a hug and kiss to each member of the Association, each of whom is well-fixed in my happy campus memories.”

Santiago, well-known for being a bold fighter of graft and corruption in the government and an exceptional achiever since elementary, took up Bachelor of Arts in UP Iloilo College and graduated magna cum laude in 1965. She went on to study law in UP Diliman College of Law, and graduated cum laude. She also went to the United States to study further where she earned Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, among others.

She held numerous positions in government agencies such as Regional Trial Court Judge, Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation and Secretary of Agrarian Reform where she worked on to rid the government of corruption. She is also notable for having served in all three branches of the government and for being the first Filipina and Asian from a developing country to be elected judge of the International Criminal Court.

Outstanding professional awards were also given to alumni in various fields. The awardees include Cosette V. Canilao, BS Business Administration 1990, in the field of Governance/Public Administration/Public Service;Tina Marie H. Sison, BS Business Administration 1990, in the field of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship; Elmer Lighid, BS Management 1990, in the field of Social Sciences and Human Ecology; Christine S. Garin, High School 1990, in the field of Governance/Public Administration/Public Service; Oscar J. Penasales, High School 1985, in the field of Architecture; Patricio P. Palmes, BS Biology 1985, in the field of Health and Medical Profession; Melanie Jane Ausan-Tendencia, BS Biology 1980, in the field of Health and Medical Profession; Reynaldo M. Gustilo, High School 1965, in the field of Public Service; and Vicente M. Tupas, High School 1965, in the field of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship.

The U.P. Alumni and Faculty Homecoming is being organized annually by the UP Alumni Association Iloilo Chapter and the UP Visayas Office of Alumni Relations in cooperation with the various university alumni organizations.

By: GC Castro

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