The Straits Times
Published on Nov 23, 2012

Philippine massacre clan jostles for power again


MANILA (AFP) - Dozens of members of a clan whose leaders are on trial for the Philippines' worst political massacre are candidates in the elections next year, some for the president's party, media and rights groups said on Friday.

The revelations sparked outrage on the third-year anniversary of the massacre, in which 58 people died. Critics say the Ampatuan family's enduring political influence underlined the country's "culture of impunity".

"That some clan members are running under the banner of President (Benigno) Aquino's party is a serious cause for concern because it imparts a damaging message that impunity is alive and well," Human Rights Watch spokesman Carlos Conde said.

Leaders of the Muslim clan, then allied to Mr Aquino's predecessor Gloria Arroyo, are accused of carrying out the massacre to stop a local rival from filing his candidacy for Maguindanao province governor in the 2010 elections.