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AMONG THE 802 unopposed candidates for the 2016 elections, a few stood out not just because their surnames sounded familiar, but also because of the frequency in which these kept popping up.

IF ANDAL AMPATUAN SR. and his sons ruled Maguindanao as if they owned the province, perhaps it was because they really owned a sizeable chunk of it — and parts of Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao City, and Makati City as well.

MARY GRACE MORALES lost two loved ones in the Maguindanao Massacre of Nov.23, 2009 — her husband Rosell, a reporter for News Focus, and her sister Marites Cablitas, a reporter of radio DxBX.

The Ampatuans were Arroyo’s anointed lieutenants in ARMM, their alliance built largely on largesse. But the cash bonanza that Maguindanao secured from Arroyo failed dismally to alleviate the misery of the poor. Its poverty numbers grew parallel to the surge in the wealth of the Ampatuans, a clan given to flaunting its wealth, weapons, and wheels. 

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