Senator Datu Salipada K. Pendatun was a lawyer, military officer, legislator and national leader of many “ Firsts”.
Stocky and solidly built, he was the first and only Muslim who headed a combined Muslim Christian-American guerilla army, the first Filipino Muslim to be conferred the rank of Brigadier General, the first Muslim elected senator, the first to hold three Senate Committee Chairmanship at the same time, the first Muslim delegate to the United Nations and the first Muslim to become Speaker Pro-Tempore of the House Representatives. He was also a champion of the unification of the free world and exponent of the cause that a combination of Christian and Muslim free countries can successfully resist Communist aggression and domination.
When the South Vietnam situation became serious, Mr. Pendatun offered from 6,000 to 10,000 Filpino officers and men composed of the reserve officers of the Legion of the Philippines, of which he was the adviser and spokesman, and veterans who served under him in the guerilla army during the Japanese occfupation, to serve in beleaguered South Vietnam.
General Pendatun was a descendant of Sharif Kubungsuan, son of the Sultan of Jahor, Malaya and the first ruler of the Empire Province of Cotabato with the title of Sultan as Maguindanao.
Senator Pendatun, better known as “Sali” to friends, was born in Pikit, Cotabato, on December 3, 1912, of pure Filipino-Malayan Muslim parentage.
He completed his elementary and high school education in Cotabato, obtained his Associate in arts degree in 1934 and Bachelor of Laws degree in 1938, both from the University of the Philippines, and passed the bar examination also in 1938.
When the Japanese forces invaded the Philippines, he did not surrender to the Japanese Imperial Army and instead formed a large guerilla army of Muslims and Christians. American soldiers, who refused to surrender to the Japanese Army, also joined Pendatun’s guerilla outfit. He was the only Muslim leader who received the highest war awards from the United States, South Vietnam and the Philippines.
General Pendatun had served the country as member of the Cotabato Provincial Board (1938-1940); Provincial Governor of Cotabato (1945); Senator (1946-1951); President Elpidio Quirino’s technical adviser (1950-1953); Congressman for Cotabato (1957-1963); re-elected Senator (1969-1972); and Assemblyman at the Interim Batasang Pambansa (1978-1985).
He had also served as official member to various international conferences, including the United Nations in Paris and New York and represented the Philippine Government at the inauguration of the Indonesian Independence in Jakarta in 1949.
Senator Pendatun hit the limelight when he, together with Senator Tañada, voted against President Manuel A. Roxas Amnesty Proclamation for the collaborators of the last war. All the other 22 senators supported the amnesty proposal.
During his six-year term in the Senate, Senator Pendatun was chairman of the following important committees: Army, Navy and Military Pensions; Corporations, Banks and Franchises; and Special Organized Provinces.
Senator Pendatun was married to Aida S. Farales of Bulacan and Zambales. They had a twin daughter, Bai Moniera and Bai Zamrad, another daughter Bai Mariam, and only son Datu Salipada Khalid, Jr.
Senator Pendatun was the first and only Muslim who was married in a Catholic Church and retained his Islamicfaith with Pope’s dispensation.
Senator Salipada K. Pendatun – a martyr and hero for the Muslims.