• Maguindanao massacre suspect is mayoralty bet

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    Talayan, Maguindanao: A member of the Ampatuan clan who is one of the suspects in the 2009 election-related massacre is among the candidates running for a local position here, as is his wife and brother.

    Former Maguindanao Vice Governor Sajid Ampatuan is a candidate for mayor in Shariff Aguak town under the ticket of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)

    Sajid is the youngest brother of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan.

    The brothers, including their father – Andal Sr. – who died last year, were among the suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre where 58 people, among them 32 journalists, were killed.

    The dreaded incident became known as the worst single-day election-related violence in the country.

    The massacre victims were slain on their way to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Shariff Aguak for the filing of the certificate of candidacy of then-Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, who was running against the powerful Ampatuan clan in the 2010 gubernatorial elections.

    On Tuesday, party standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay took his campaign to South Cotabato before attending the proclamation rally, which was held in Talayan town.

    The candidates under UNA’s local ticket include, among others, former Talayan town Mayor Ali Midtimbang, Zaldy’s father-in-law who is running for governor, and Ismael “Datu Dustin” Mastura, who is running for vice governor.

    Sajid’s wife, Mayor Bai Zandria Ampatuan of Shariff Saydona Mustapha town, as well as Mayor Benzar Ampatuan of Mamasapano town, are likewise running under UNA as reelectionists.

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