MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The Liberal Party has no room for the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao in the 2013 elections, according to party stalwart Sen Franklin Drilon.
Drilon said this at the Kapihan sa Senado press forum on Thursday, November 22, as he questioned the endorsement of LP of some members of the Ampatuan clan who are running for elective posts in the May 2013 elections.
"We should revoke whatever certificates of nomination and acceptance that may have been issued to them. I am not in favor," Drilon said.
But Malacañang said that Maguindanao Gov Esmael Mangudadatu had explained that those with the surname Ampatuan did not necessarily “share the same brand of politics that the patriarch espoused,” referring to Andal Ampatuan Sr.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Mangungudatu, whose wife and other relatives were among those killed, would not have accepted the Ampatuans with the same beliefs as those who allegedly committed the massacre.
Rappler earlier reported that a total of 74 Ampatuans will be running in next year's local elections in Maguindanao. At least 10 of them have indicated in their certificates of candidacy (COCs) that they are running under the LP. They are the following:
Three of those who have filed their COCs under the LP banner are reelectionists. In the 2010 elections, Soraida Ampatuan ran under B.Bayan-VNP, while Johaipa Ampatuan and Mohamadnor Ampatuan ran as independent candidates.
No Ampatuan ran under LP in the 2010 elections.
A Bombo Radyo report said that it was Mangudadatu who reportedly approved the membership of some members of the Ampatuan clan in LP. He was quoted by the report as saying that these members did not take part in the massacre.
Lacierda conceded that it would still be up to LP to decide on the candidates they would field.
“Senator Drilon is one of the officials so definitely, they will be in a position to decide that and again we leave it with the Liberal Party to decide if they want to remove them. It's their decision in the first place,” Lacierda said.
He said he would leave it with the LP to deal with local politics.
“And so the local politics, you consult with the local officials. But again that's what Governor Mangudadatu said but if Senator Drilon feels that they should review the nomination and acceptance of all these Ampatuans in the LP, then by all means it's within their right to review them,” Lacierda said.
Drilon explained that the party assigns to the governor the signing of the certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) for local candidates. The party's gubernatorial candidate is reelectionist Esmael Mangudadatu, whose relatives are among the victims of the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre in the town of Ampatuan.
Mangudadatu's wife and relatives, political supporters, and local reporters were killed while on their way to file his candidacy. Mangudadatu challenged Andal Ampatuan Jr, son of the patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr, who was then the province's outgoing governor.
At least 27 of the 195 accused in the case bear the name Ampatuan. It's the country's worst case of election violence in recent history. - Rappler.com