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Eleksyon 2013

PCIJ: Ampatuans, political clans dominate list of Maguindanao bets

April 12, 2013 1:40pm

A large number of candidates in Maguindanao province in next month's elections are from political clans, including the Ampatuans, a family linked to the bloody murder of 58 people in November 2009, according to data from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

The PCIJ data showed of the 1,180 candidates in Maguindanao vying for 369 elective posts in the May 13 polls, at least 400 belong to political families. Of these, the Ampatuan clan has the most number of candidates with 80.

So many members of political families have joined the elections in Maguindanao that in some municipalities, relatives are pitted against each other for a certain position, the PCIJ said.

PCIJ multimedia director Ed Lingao shared these figures and facts at a forum in Quezon City on Thursday.

Two lists

According to PCIJ’s tally that cited data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Ampatuan clan has the most number of candidates with 80 people, followed by the Utto family with 37, the Midtimbans with 26, the Sangkis with 25, and the Abduls with 22.

The Mangudadatus, whose members include incumbent Maguindanao governor Esmael Mangudadatu, are also on the list with 18 candidates. Esmael is seeking re-election in next month's polls.

The list consists of candidates with surnames and middle names of known political families to reflect clan members who changed their names due to marriage.

But even on another list, one that just used surnames as basis, the Ampatuans still dominate the list with 53 candidates, according to the PCIJ. Next to them are the Midtimbangs with 17 candidates, and the Sangkis and Sinsuats, who have 16 apiece.

Thus, on the basis of surnames, around 256 candidates from 23 political families with six or more candidates are running in the incoming elections. That number rises to 427, when candidates with both middle and surnames from political families were factored in.

In 2010, GMA News Research found out that the Ampatuan clan was the biggest winner in that year’s elections with 15 members bagging posts, despite being hounded by accusations of being involved in the infamous Maguindanao massacre.

In that same study, it was also found that out of 64 political families with two or more members who won national or local posts, only the Ampatuans and the Singsons of Ilocos Sur had more than 10 victorious relatives — with the Ampatuans topping the list with 15.

Several members of the Ampatuan clan, including family patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr. and three of his sons, are tagged as masterminds in the killing of 58 people, including Esmael Mangudadatu's wife and sisters, as well as over 30 journalists, in November 23, 2009. That time, Esmael was about to challenge an Ampatuan clan member in the gubernatorial election.

Relative vs. relative

The PCIJ report also noted that because of the large number of members from various political clans running in the polls, even those from the same family are running against each other.

For example, in Datu Hoffer town, Yamashita Mangacop, who is related to both the Ampatuans and Mangudadatus, is running against incumbent Mayor Johaira Midtimbang Ampatuan.

Johaira is the wife of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Andal Sr.'s son and one of the accused in the Maguindanao Massacre.

“You know, here in Maguindanao, it’s just not possible for relatives not to end up running against one another,” Mangacop said in the PCIJ report.

According to the report, family members are running against each other over such factors as conflicting governance styles or even for increasing the probability of a clan member winning a seat.

PCIJ also produced a documentary on the topic of political families in Maguindanao, entitled “Angkan, Inc.,” which was screened at the forum.

Lingao said they chose Maguindanao as the starting point for studies because of the stark issues surrounding the province and the number of influential families there. He said there are proposals to conduct the same study in Luzon and the Visayas. — KBK, GMA News
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