March 29, 2010 · Posted in: General

The wealth of the Ampatuans

Our latest offering is a three-part investigative report on the mysterious wealth of the Ampatuans, the clan whose patriarch and senior scions stand accused in the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre of 57 perople, including 32 media workers, in Maguindaoao.

Four months hence, the murder and rebellion charges filed on account of the tragic incident has yet to move past bail hearings. But already 9 of the 10 Ampatuans named in the cases, as well as 50 other clan members, are gunning for local positions in the May 2010 elections.

A clan given to flaunting wealth, weapons and wheels, the Ampatuans have somehow returned to life, politically speaking. This is despite the big unanswered questions about their role in the massacre, as well as the sources of their fabulous fortune. Their quick rise to great wealth is, more than just a mystery, a terrible irony. Maguindanao remains dirt-poor, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the cellar-dweller in terms of human development and the quality of life indices, across the Philippines.

The PCIJ and MindaNews, an independent media agency based out of Davao City jointly conducted this three-part investigation. MindaNews’s editor in chief, Ms Carolyn O. Arguillas, authored parts 1 and 2 of the report, with paper-trail research conducted by the PCIJ’s editors and staff writers.

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