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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Philippine Muslim massacre clan chief loses election bid

The patriarch of a Muslim clan accused of carrying out the Philippines' worst political massacre lost his election bid for a top government position, a polling official said yesterday.

Andal Ampatuan Snr, who is in jail awaiting trial on murder charges, finished in second place for the post of Maguindanao province vice governor, the chairman of the provincial election commission told AFP.

Ampatuan Snr was governor of Maguindanao last year when 57 people travelling in a convoy were abducted in the province and executed on a remote road.

Ampatuan Snr's son and namesake allegedly led the massacre to stop a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, challenging him for the governorship in Monday's national elections.

Mangudadatu's wife and two sisters, who were travelling to an election office to register his candidacy for the governorship, as well as 31 accompanying journalists, were among those killed.

Despite the massacre Mangudadatu continued with his election campaign and Friday's vote count showed he had won, defeating an Ampatuan ally, according to the provincial election commission chairman, Renault Macarambon.

The Ampatuans had ruled the restive Maguindanao province for a decade, earning reputations as fearsome warlords who used a private army numbering thousands of men to terrorise opponents and voters.

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