The ties that bind

The Web of Clans of Maguindanao
(Link to full size version of this diagram)

A SPIDER couldn’t have spun a more complicated network: the diagram before you shows blood and affinal lines that link the Ampatuans to the Sangkis and Mangudadatus, Midtimbangs, Sinsuats, Dilangalens, Datumanongs and Hatamans, and the Semas. This network of political families is spread all over Maguindanao, and even reaches the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Basilan.

And yet the diagram, which is based largely on available information, is by no means complete. To put it together, PCIJ looked at data enrolled in the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) filed by officials who are required in law to declare their relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity and/or affinity working in government, Certificates of Candidacy that provide information about a candidate’s spouse, and Personal Data Sheets which list details of the spouse, children, and parents of an official.

To verify positions and relations, PCIJ also used official records of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). In addition, it referred to various news reports published by MindaNews,,, and

We begin with Ampatuan patriarch Andal Sr., who has six wives and about 40 children. At least 11 of his children are identified in various public documents and news reports: Saudi, Rebecca, Kagi Nuria, Zaldy, Anwar, Hoffer, Andal Jr., Aloha, Sajid, Shaydee, and Galema. Two sons, Saudi and Hoffer, have passed away.

Three of Andal Sr.’s children (Zaldy, Hoffer, and Sajid) and two of his grandsons (Bahnarin, son of Rebecca and Akmad M. Ampatuan Sr. and Datu Amer Hussein or Jeng, son of Shaydee and Datu Salih Nasution P. Macapendeg) are married to members of other political families in Maguindanao.

In all, public office in the 36 towns of Maguindanao is held by over a dozen families, majority of which are bound either by blood or marriage. At least eight other political families were traced to be directly connected to or associated with the Ampatuans.


Rebecca A. Ampatuan is married to her cousin Akmad M. Ampatuan Sr. Wife Rebecca is director at the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) while husband Akmad Sr. is the incumbent vice mayor of Mamasapano. Akmad is among the Ampatuans charged with murder in connection with the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre, but who managed to run and win in the 2010 elections while behind bars.

Rebecca and Akmad have three known children, Lady Sha-Honey, Mohammad Bahnarin, and incumbent Mamasapano mayor Tahirodin Benzar.

Bahnarin, who was elected as local chief executive of Mamasapano in 2007, is married to Amina Sangki who is the daughter of Datu Zacaira Sangki and sister of Rasul Sangki. Rasul was one of the first witnesses who implicated Andal Jr. in the Maguindanao Massacre.

Father Zacaira and son Rasul currently serves as mayor and vice mayor, respectively, of the town of Ampatuan. In another town, Datu Abdullah Sangki, the Sangkis also hold the mayoral and vice mayoral posts.

Comelec’s certified list of provincial and municipal candidates who are running in the May 2013 elections (as of Nov. 2012) shows that at least 25 candidates bear Sangki as either surname or middle name. The list includes those running for congressman, governor, vice governor, provincial board member, mayor, vice mayor, and councilor.

Datu Ali Balayman Sangki, former executive director of the Office on Muslim Affairs, has a daughter (Bai Mariam) who is married Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Suharto T. Mangudadatu

Datu Suharto is the cousin of Maguindanao Governor Esmael ‘Toto’ G. Mangudadatu whose wife Genalyn and sisters Eden and Farida were among the 58 killed in the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre.

The Mangudadatus occupy top seats in Maguindanao and the province of Sultan Kudarat.

In Maguindanao, Toto’s father Datu Pua is former Buluan mayor. His brothers Ibrahim, Zajid, and Freddie currently serve as local chief executives of the towns of Buluan, Pandag, and Mangudadatu, respectively. His sister, Rhamla M. Kadalim is member of the Sangguniang Bayan in Buluan. Toto’s son King Jhasser also serves as Buluan vice mayor. He will turn 22 this April.

In Sultan Kudarat, Toto’s uncle Datu Pax was congressman of the province’s first district from 2007 to 2010. Datu Pax’s son-in-law Datu Raden C. Sakaluran then took office in Congress in 2010. Raden’s wife, Bai Ruth, is the current mayor of Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

Comelec records show that at least 18 candidates with Mangudadatu as either as surname or middle name are running for local positions in May 2013.


Datu Zaldy U. Ampatuan, Andal Sr.’s son and one of the accused in the massacre, is married to Johaira ‘Bongbong’ Midtimbang, the daughter of former Guindulungan mayor Datu Midpantao Midtimbang.

Bongbong belongs to another political clan that currently holds office in the towns of Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Guindulungan, and Talayan.

In 2010, Midpantao’s children Bongbong, Guiadzali, and Midpantao Jr. were elected as Datu Hoffer Ampatuan mayor and Guindulungan mayor and Sangguniang Bayan member, respectively. His nephews Tungkang and Nathaniel, meanwhile, serve as incumbent mayors of Talayan and Datu Anggal Midtimbang. His brother Sukarno is also vice mayor of Talayan.


Two of Andal’s Sr. sons are married to a Sinsuat: the late Hoffer to Ingrid Sinsuat and Sajid Islam to Zandria Sinsuat. Zandria currently sits as mayor of the town of Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

The Sinsuats are one of the oldest and most established clans in Maguindanao and the country. Their political lineage may be traced back since the 19th century along with the Masturas and Ampatuans, according to Alfred McCoy’s An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.

Datu Odin Sinsuat Mayor Datu Lester Sinsuat and Vice Mayor Datu Sajid Sinsuat are sons of the town’s former mayor, Datu Ombra Sinsuat. PCIJ also found no documents to establish the relationship of Datu Ombra to either Ingrid or Zandria.

Ombra’s brothers Datu Bimbo and Datu Rusman served as Maguindanao vice governor in 2004 to 2007, and board member in 2001 to 2004, respectively. Datu Rusman was among the seven injured in the explosion that struck Governor Mangudadatu’s convoy in Tacurong City on Aug. 15, 2011. At least one was reported killed in the incident. The Sinsuats are also believed to be related to the Mangudadatus.

In May 2013, at least 22 candidates with Sinsuat as either surname or middle name are running for local posts in Maguindanao.


Datu Amer Hussein ‘Jeng’ A. Macapendeg, Andal Sr.’s grandson by daughter Bai Shaydee, is married to Bai Donna Dilangalen, daughter of couple Didagen P. Dilangalen and Baisendig Guimba. Didagen and Baisendig both served as representatives of the first district of Maguindanao.

Another Dilangalen, Prince Mosafeer Mangudadatu Dilangalen, holds public office as incumbent vice mayor of Mangudadatu town. He is also Governor Mangudadatu’s nephew.

At least eight candidates with Dilangalen as either surname or middle name are running for local posts in Maguindanao in the May 2013 elections.


Andal Sr. has declared Maguindanao Rep. Simeon A. Datumanong as his nephew in his SALNs. Zaldy has also declared the congressman as his cousin in his SALNs. Datumanong, however, has not listed Andal Sr. or any of his sons as his relatives in government in his SALNs.

Datumanong, in his personal data sheet filed with the House of Representatives, lists Bai Salama Ampatuan Datumanong of Maganoy as his mother. PCIJ could not determine the relationship of Bai Salama to Andal Sr.; she could either be his sister or cousin.

Simeon's daughter Merinissa is the wife of Basilan Rep. Hadjiman Salliman-Hataman, brother of ARMM Governor Mujiv S. Hataman.

Simeon’s son Borgiva or Tasmi, meanwhile, had served three consecutive terms as provincial board member in Maguindanao.

In 2010, Midpantao’s children Bongbong, Guiadzali, and Midpantao Jr. were elected as Datu Hoffer Ampatuan mayor and Guindulungan mayor and Sangguniang Bayan member, respectively. His nephews Tungkang and Nathaniel, meanwhile, serve as incumbent mayors of Talayan and Datu Anggal Midtimbang. His brother Sukarno is also vice mayor of Talayan.


Maguindanao and Cotabato City Rep. Bai Sandra Ampatuan Sema is known as a relative of Andal Sr. No records, however, are available to establish the exact relationship of Bai Sandra to Andal Sr.

Bai Sandra’s husband is Cotabato City vice mayor Muslimin Sema, who is also chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). – PCIJ, April 2013