MANILA—Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on Wednesday extended condolences to the family of Maguindanao second district representative and former Justice Secretary Simeon Datumanong who passed away on Tuesday night, describing him as one who has many talents and admirable traits.
”We join the nation in mourning the sudden demise of former Justice Secretary Simeon A. Datumanong last night. A man of many talents and admirable traits, he ably served the nation as the Justice Secretary from January 16, 2003 to December 23, 2003,” Aguirre said in a statement.
”We lost a legal luminary but heaven gained the soul of a good man. Let us all pray for his soul. I request everyone to include him in all your prayers. May Allah bless his soul,” he added.
Aguirre said that “Datumanong distinguished himself as a public servant in both the legislative and the executive branches of our government, his love for our country and for the Filipino people was very much evident in his thoughts and more so in his actions.”
Datumanong, 81, passed away at 9:42 p.m. Tuesday at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City due to complications caused by diabetes and kidney problems.
Datumanong was a Muslim politician who held different government positions including as a representative of the lone district of Maguindanao.
Datumanong entered politics when he was elected as Vice-Governor (1963–1967), then as Governor (1967–1971) of Cotabato.
He was elected as the first governor of Maguindanao in 1973 and served until 1975. He was then elected to the Regular Batasang Pambansa from Maguindanao in 1984.
In 1992, Datumanong was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives to represent Maguindanao’s Second District.
Aside from serving as Secretary of Justice, Datumanong also served as Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003.