In recent days, military raids in Maguindanao have revealed much more than high-caliber firearms; the raids have made public 16 homes in Davao City and 14 mansions in Maguindanao, all belonging to the Ampatuans.
While the Ampatuans wallow in splendor and grandeur, their constituents suffer the hardship of squalor and poverty that is prevalent in the third poorest province in the country.
The question is, where did all this wealth come from? Gov. Andal Ampatuan’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN) for 2002 shows only a net worth of P11 million. As public servants, Gov. Ampatuan and the rest of his family must answer to the people for amassing a suspicious amount of wealth while in power.
More importantly, the discovery of thousands of voter’s identification cards and other election materials in the home of Shariff Aguak Mayor Anwar Ampatuan is a tell-tale sign of the source of their wealth, and is further evidence of the long-standing rumors that the powerful Ampatuan clan was involved in rigging the 2004 and 2007 elections.
It is no secret that the Ampatuans count themselves as the staunch allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and that the province where the Ampatuans have wielded their iron grip for more than a decade is a known bulwark of the administration. The tragedy in Maguindanao has now shed light into the ghost of electoral fraud that has continued to haunt GMA’s presidency.
We have had enough. We call on the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the apparent ill-gotten wealth that is a stark example of the corruption that has eroded our democracy, and the fruits of this administration’s efforts to deceive our people of its legitimacy.
Atty. Edwin Lacierda
Presidential Campaign of Benigno S. Aquino III