History of the Quezon Service Cross

The Quezon Service Cross was proposed by President Manuel Roxas in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon to serve as the highest honor of the Republic. On August 2, 1946, President Manuel Roxas, in a message, submitted a proposed Joint Resolution to Congress for the creation of Quezon Service Cross, the highest award the republic could bestow. Roxas in his message said:

“I am proposing that the President be authorized to make such awards, with the concurrence of the Congress. The resolution itself limits the type of nominations which may be made; this should be the highest national recognition of outstanding civilian service in the gift of the Republic.”

Thus, the Quezon Service Cross was created by virtue of Joint Resolution No. 4 s. 1946 enacted by both houses of Congress. Three individuals were awarded prior to the abolition of the Third Republic in 1972.

Although Congress was abolished upon the declaration of Martial Law, the Quezon Service Cross remained but was not awarded to any individual.

In the reforms of the awards system of the Republic in 2003, Executive Order No. 236 retained the original intention of President Roxas to have the Quezon Service Cross as the highest decoration of the Philippines. Therefore, in the Order of Precedence of Philippine Honors and State Decorations the Quezon Service Cross is the top recognition a Filipino can receive from the Republic.

The Quezon Service Cross is unique in that the President nominates individuals (limited to Filipino citizens only), but the nomination must be approved by Congress.

Since its creation in 1946, only five people, to date, have been awarded the Quezon Service Cross. The latest recipient was former Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Jesse M. Robredo, who was conferred on November 26, 2012. The following is the roster of recipients:

Carlos P. Romulo (April 12, 1951)
Emilio Aguinaldo (June 12, 1956)
Ramon Magsaysay (posthumous) (July 4, 1957)
Benigno S. Aquino Jr. (posthumous) (August 21, 2004)

Jesse M. Robredo (posthumous) (November 26, 2012)

Excerpts from the Official Week in Review printed in the Official Gazette:

June 12, 1956 (Official Gazette Vol. 52 No. 6) - “President Magsaysay this morning cited General Emilio Aguinaldo for his exceptional and meritorious services as the Supreme Filipino Revolutionary General “during the fight for Philippine independence against Spain and as the President of the First Philippine Republic.”

At the same time, the President conferred upon Gen. Aguinaldo the Quezon Service Cross “for exemplary service to the nation in memory of the late Manuel L. Quezon.”

The citation and the Quezon Service Cross were presented to General Aguinaldo by Vice-President and concurrently Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Garcia this morning at the Aguinaldo residence in Kawit, Cavite, on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic. The Vice-President made the presentation on behalf of the President.

The citation praised General Aguinaldo for “his staunch belief in the principles of Freedom that animated his career, first as a member of the Katipunan and then as the outstanding leader of the Revolutionary Movement; his unshaken confidence in the capability of the Filipino people to govern themselves and work out their national identity; and his unflinching devotion to the noble mission of freeing the Philippines from foreign domination by his proclamation of an independent Filipino government on May 24, 1898, which, on June 12 the same year, asserted the independence of the Philippines.”

The award of the Quezon Service Cross had been  made by virtue of the  provisions of Joint Resolution No. 4 of the Congress of the Philippines, dated October 21, 1946, This resolution created the Quezon Service Cross, “for exemplary service to the nation in memory of  the late President Manuel L. Quezon.”

July 4, 1957 (Official Gazette Vol. 53 No. 13)- The President presented the posthumous award of the Quezon Service Cross on the late President Ramon Magsaysay in ceremonies held at the Malacañang social hall this evening in connection with the observance of the 11th anniversary of the Republic of the Philippines.

The award was presented to Mrs. Luz B. Magsaysay, widow of the late President, in the presence of officers and members of the 11th civic assembly of women, Cabinet members, members of the diplomatic corps and and their ladies, and the representatives of various civic organizations gathered at Malacañang to witness this year’s awarding of presidential medals of merit under the sponsorship of the CAWP.

Criteria

Joint Resolution No. 4, s. 1946, and Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003, states that an individual should have performed an “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. Nominations for this award shall be accomplished by a statement of the services meriting the award and shall be made only in cases where the service performed or contribution made can be measured on the scale established by the national benefaction of the late President Manuel L. Quezon.”

Process of Conferment

Unlike other state honors and decorations, the Quezon Service Cross can only be awarded with the concurrence of both houses of congress and the President of the Philippines. It is the only award that requires congressional resolution in order to be conferred upon individuals.

The process of nomination and awarding of the Quezon Service Cross is as follows:

1. Nominations for the Quezon Service Cross are submitted to the Honors Committee for their consideration;

2. The Honors Committee submits their recommendation to the President of the Philippines;

3. Upon the President’s approval, he executes a letter to the leadership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines for Congress’ approval;

4. A Resolution shall be enacted by each chamber concurring with the nomination of conferment of the Quezon Service Cross upon an individual;

5. The Quezon Service Cross is awarded by the President of the Philippines.

Diagram of the Quezon Service Cross