General Salipada K. Pendatun
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 ChristianAmerican 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 ProTempore 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 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 (19381940); Provincial Governor of Cotabato (1945); Senator (19461951); President Elpidio Quirino’s technical adviser (1950-1953); Congressman for Cotabato (1957-1963); reelected Senator (1969-1972); and Assemblyman at the Interim Batasang Pambansa (1978-1985).