Simeon Datumanong, ex-Maguindanao rep, dies

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Simeon Datumanong, former Maguindanao 2nd District Representative and former Public Works secretary, passed away on Tuesday night, February 28. 

Rajah Buayan Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan said in a Facebook post that the 81-year-old Datumanong died at around 9:25 pm at the Philippine Heart Center.

"I am deeply sad to inform one and all... I just had a talk with Ate Sigrid (Datumanong's wife) that our beloved Simeon Ampatuan Datumanong had rested in peace. He died in Manila on or about 9:25pm 28 February 2017," said Ampatuan.

Former justice secretary Agnes Devanadera also confirmed Datumanong's death early Wednesday, March 1.

His body is now being brought to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, for interment, said Devanadera, who was Datumanong's fellow Cabinet member during the Arroyo administration.

Ampatuan also said Datumanong will be laid to rest in Shariff Aguak on Wednesday, March 1.

"We will miss him so much as an epitome of good leadership, calm, simple and effective. For me, he is an elder who is my idol. Kaka Sim, may Allah bless your soul," he said. 

Datumanong served his first 3 terms as congressman from 1992 to 2001.

He was then appointed as secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways under the administration of former president and now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from 2001 to 2003.

He briefly served as Arroyo's justice secretary starting January 16, 2003 until his resignation on December 23 of the same year. 

Datumanong returned to the House of Representatives in 2007 and served as Maguindanao 2nd District representative until 2013. He was also appointed as one of the deputy speakers. 

In a statement on Thursday, March 2, Arroyo said she appointed Datumanong in her cabinet "because of his reputation for uprightness."

"Sim was a steady and strong ally. More than that, he wsa a strong voice for the equality of our Filipino Muslims. He exemplified the true Muslim spirit: Committed, courageous, sincere, and loya," said Arroyo.

"It was a privilege to have worked with him and share a strong friendship," she added.

Prior his death, Datumanong was charged with graft cases in relation to the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Datumanong supposedly had P3.8 million of his PDAF coursed through the bogus Maharlikang Lipi Foundation Incorporated as NGO-partner. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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