ARMM leaders grieve death of Datumanong

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COTABATO CITY: Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Maguindanao grieved the demise of Rep. Simeon Ampatuan Datumanong they considered a great Muslim leader. He was 81 years old.

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Regional Gov.Mujiv Hataman said the entire ARMM leadership grieved with the family of Datumanong he described as “an honest politician, great statesman, public servant and lawmaker.”

“The whole Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has lost a great leader. Hon. Simeon Datumanong embodied the high ideals of an honest politician, a patriot who believed in the Bangsamoro cause to which he devoted his life,” Hataman said in a statement.

“He will forever stay in the hearts of the people of the ARMM in general and Maguindanao in particular as a deeply respected and loved leader. He will be missed not only by his constituents but also by the august halls of Congress, and the various offices he served with distinction and respect,” Hataman added.

Mayor Zamsamin Ampatuan of Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao first broke the news of Datumanong’s death at about 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday. Ampatuan is one of Datumanong’s relatives in government service.

Ampatuan said the Muslim leader was confined in the Philippine Heart Center for about two weeks before succumbed to cardiac arrest at 9:25 p.m.

Rep. Bai Sandra Sema of Maguindanao’s first congressional district and Datumanong’s relative said, “We’ve lost a great leader. One who has served well his people. Who has inspired many to strive for their dreams and succeed. His track record is very hard to duplicate,”

Datumanong, known among Moro people as “Bapa Sim,” was married to Sigrid de Guzman with whom he had four children – Borgiva Tasmi, Merinisa Anisalam, Soraya Julie and Rahma Anna Liza. He has 13 grandchildren.

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