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DRIFT and confusion. Some pockets of transparency but most everywhere, a predilection for opaqueness and more barriers to access in place. This is the access to information regime that lingers in the Philippines nearly a year after Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III came to power on a “Social Contract with the Filipino People,” which he said would be defined by transparency, accountability, and good governance.

Until they were charged with the murder of 58 persons on Nov. 23, 2009, the Ampatuans lived in mansions, traveled with a retinue of armed escorts in a convoy of black SUVs, flew business class, and in the first days of their detention, enjoyed catered meals.

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