Clan Politics

by Kiko Matsing

Mangudadatu said that as early as 2006, he had plans of vying for the governorship. But Ampatuan Sr. told him not to run and that instead, he would be given a province of his own.

“He [Ampatuan Sr.] asked me to produce the necessary requirements. Unfortunately, we failed to meet the requirements [stated under the law for the creation of a new province],” Mangudadatu said.

In 2006, upon the creation of the province of Shariff Kabunsuan, Mangudadatu said, by law, his brother Freddie, then, head of the Sangguniang Bayan, was supposed to sit as vice governor.

But Mangudadatu said Andal Sr. told him that he was supposed to occupy the position, not his brother.

Because of this, Mangudadatu said Andal Sr. issued a resolution stating that his brother was not qualified for the position due to lack of education and experience.

“I told him, ‘Apo [Andal Sr.], my brother was able to study, three terms as board member.’”

“I told him ‘Apo change what has been put in writing [referring to the resolution] because it hurts a lot,’” Mangudadatu said.

“Pero wala kaming nagawa, ako, ang nanay ko, ang kapatid ko [But we weren’t able to do anything, my mother, my brother]. My brother was forced to sign the resolution.”

“Bakit wala kayong nagawa [Why weren’t you able to do anything]?” asked Department of Justice Senior State Prosecutor Leo Dacera.

“Dahil napakaraming bodyguard sa compound nila [Because there were a lot of bodyguards in their compound],” he said.

But in exchange for the signing of the resolution, he said they asked that they be given two municipalities, Mangudadatu said, adding that ARMM Governor Ampatuan has the authority to do so.

Two municipalities were created where his brothers Freddie Mangudadatu and Sajib Mangudadatu sat as mayors, he said.

(from Ampatuan clan ‘violent,’ Arroyo execs warned rival, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

These clan leaders create and swap fiefdoms in Mindanao like they own the place. This is why I contend that there is no real democracy in the Philippines. Elections there are a joke. Petty warlords like the Ampatuans and Mangudadatu exert choke-hold control over their constituents–by patronage or threat of violence.

The Arroyo (or any national) government has tolerated such savage, barbaric clan politics because they ensured the wholesale delivery of votes during elections. When she came into power after EDSA II, Arroyo promised an end to traditional politics, which includes the kind of patronage politics practiced by these petty warlords in Mindanao. After 10 years of warming the seat of power, we haven’t budged an inch.