Ampatuan: A Report on a Fat Dynasty by the PCIJ

There are two types of political dynasties, thin and fat. The thin one tries to passes on the political seat from one family member to the other. A Fat Political Dynasty is one where a family will try to occupy the greatest number of political seats it can. This not a uncommon thing in a country where the political realities is political families, some even dating back to the Spanish Colonial period. The most well- known fat dynastiy now is that of thr Ampatuans. Their infamy is not only due to their ability to dekiver votes to their Allies but also for the massacre that bears their name. This is the first paragraphs from the PCIJ Report by Ed Lingao and the related piece Ties that Bind by Karol Ilagan.

The clan politics of ARMM Ampatuans, web of kin warp Maguindanao polls – PCIJ

By Ed Lingao
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
First of Three Parts

DATU HOFFER, Maguindanao – This municipality is just a kilometer or so from the capitol, but it barely looks like a town. Bereft of any paved roads, it has a scattering of huts around hillsides. There is no town center, no business and commercial establishments, and the municipal hall sits alone on a hilltop – gleaming white cement and grey granite, obviously new, yet seemingly unused. There is no activity that one would associate with the governance of any regular municipality.

That’s because as far as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is concerned, Datu Hoffer is one of many newly minted towns of Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that should not even be called a town.

Datu Hoffer was created by the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly in 2009 by virtue of Muslim Mindanao Act 220, with a population of 22,000. But DBM has refused to release any internal revenue allotment (IRA) for Datu Hoffer and nine more towns in Maguindanao because their populations fall below the 25,000 residents required by the budget department to qualify for IRA. In the 2010 census, the National Statistics Office further trimmed down the population figure for Datu Hoffer to only 16,295.

In other words, the municipal government of Datu Hoffer gets no revenues from the national government, and has to subsist on whatever taxes or revenues it can raise by itself from the smattering of homes on the hillsides surrounding the town hall.

Yet the upcoming elections will see an all-out battle among members of the Ampatuan clan over Datu Hoffer, which also hosts a significant number of “internally displaced persons” or evacuee.

Read the full article at PCIJ

The ties that bind
By Karol Ilagan
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

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.

See how the graphic: The Web of Clans in Manguidanao

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