The Ampatuans and their associates had 597 bank accounts, 500 hectares of real property assets, 130 motor vehicles, 420 firearms, and a private army many hundreds strong. Their scions now stand accused in the murder of 58 persons, including 32 journalists and media workers, in the Ampatuan Massacre of Nov. 23, 2009.
They come from one of the poorest provinces of the country but the Ampatuans ranked among Asia's crazy rich, while they were in power. Court records showed that they owned five million square meters of property in parts of Maguindanao, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao City, and even in ritzy Dasmarinas Village in Makati City.
Three years after the Ampatuan Massacre trial began, the high court in December 2013 assigned an "assisting judge" to speed up the process.
From 2002 to 2008, COA reports had scored huge expenses for what could have been identical projects in Maguindanao and ARMM, under the Ampatuans. The reports painted a sorry picture of how one powerful clan could have dipped into public coffers, willfully and wantonly, as if these were its personal purse.