FALSE: Convicted Ampatuan brothers are ‘Liberal Party members’

FALSE: Convicted Ampatuan brothers are ‘Liberal Party members’
The masterminds of the Ampatuan massacre were officials of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the party of former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. They were kicked out of the party after the massacre.

Claim: Facebook page Pork Ng Ina Mo claimed that Andal Ampatuan Jr., who was convicted in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre in 2009, was a Liberal Party member. (READ: WATCH: Trial of the decade: Highlights of Ampatuan massacre case)

The page posted it on December 20, a day after the verdict on the Ampatuan massacre was handed down. 

The post also included a graphic that included a screenshot of a tweet by Liberal Party president Kiko Pangilinan and a photo of former Datu Unsay, Maguindanao mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. wearing a yellow shirt.

The caption for the post reads: “Isn’t it wonderful how Dilawans praise the conviction of the Ampatuans, who are members of their political party?”

The post has gained over 300 shares with 650 reactions and 140 comments, as of writing. The claim was flagged by Facebook Claim Check, a tool used for spotting potentially false posts spreading on social media.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The masterminds of the Ampatuan massacre were officials of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the party of former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In fact, the Ampatuans were expelled from Lakas-Kampi CMD two days after the massacre.

The Ampatuans were allies of Arroyo, head of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition at the time of the massacre. Arroyo is now a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Ampatuan family delivered votes for Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections as well as a 12-0 sweep in favor of her selected senatorial slate, Team Unity, in the 2007 elections.  

When the massacre happened, Zaldy Ampatuan – one of those convicted in the massacre – was the regional chairman for Lakas-Kampi, while his father, Ampatuan clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., was the party’s provincial chairman for Maguindanao province. Both were stripped of these positions following the massacre. 

Andal Ampatuan Sr. was also among those accused of masterminding the massacre. He died in 2015 while on trial for the massacre.

At the time of the massacre, the senior Ampatuan had already reached the limit of 3 terms for the post of provincial governor of Maguindanao. The man convicted for leading the gruesome massacre, then-mayor of Datu Unsay town Andal Ampatuan Jr., was selected by the family to succeed his father as governor.

Then-vice mayor of Buluan town  Esmael Mangudadatu (now Maguindanao 2nd district representative) also chose to run for governor. (READ: Who is Toto Mangudadatu?)

Mangudadatu’s wife, his female siblings and other relatives were among those slaughtered in the massacre. They were headed for the provincial capitol, Shariff Aguak, to file a certificate of candidacy on his behalf when they were abducted and eventually murdered. – Glenda Marie Castro and Gemma B. Mendoza/Rappler.com

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