(The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project next week launches the first in a series of events and reports on building accountability in Maguindanao with a public meeting in Davao featuring Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and others. Today, we take an introductory look at the official response to what was the most tragic and catastrophic failure of governance in national history. The State failed the 58 victims of the November 23, 2009 massacre – those in authority in Maguindanao are charged with involvement and complicity in their killing: Much was promised and ordered investigated or changed since then by the central government in Manila – but more than one year on, what has actually happened?)
In the immediate aftermath of the Maguindanao killings, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered an investigation into the lifestyle of senior members of the Ampatuans, the hugely wealthy and influential clan accused of orchestrating the massacre. Humphrey Monteroso, deputy ombudsman for Mindanao was quoted in Sun Star Davao as saying his team was investigating the family for possible violation of the country’s anti-graft and corruption laws. He alleged that many of the properties and other assets of the clan, conservatively estimated at PhP 3 billion (USD 68 million), were not declared in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).