[In this May 13, 2013 file photo, a poster of a member of Ampatuan clan running in the mid-term elections, whose clan is accused of being behind the Philippines' worst political massacre is displayed along a road, while soldiers aboard Armored personnel carriers (APC) guard near a school used as a polling center in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao province, in southern island of Mindanao. (AFP)]

MANILA, MAY 20, 2013 (ABS-CBN) Agence France-Presse - A clan whose chiefs are on trial for the Philippines' worst political massacre secured big wins in local elections this week, results showed Friday, deepening fears that justice may never be served.

Leaders of the Ampatuan family and their gunmen are accused of killing 58 people, including 32 journalists, in the southern province of Maguindanao more than three years ago in a bid to quash a rival's challenge to become governor.

Wives of three senior clan figures who are on trial for the murders were re-elected for town mayor posts in Maguindanao in Monday's mid-term elections, according to the official results website.

At least 16 other members of the Ampatuan family were elected or re-elected as town mayors, vice mayors and councillors, according to the Commission on Elections website.

"This could really crush the people's hopes that those responsible for the massacre will be punished," Noemi Parcon, whose journalist husband died in the massacre, told Agence France-Presse.

Another of those re-elected as a town mayor in Maguindanao was Benzar Ampatuan, 27, a grandson of Andal Ampatuan Snr, who is the patriarch of the family and is among those detained in Manila while on trial for the massacre.

Local rights groups and election monitors said the powerful performance of the Ampatuans was not a surprise, citing the well-known clan power structure in the Muslim-dominated southern provinces such as Maguindanao.

"It doesn't matter that the massacre happened... as long as you're the leader of the municipality, the respect is still there even if you are doing wrong," said Bobby Taguntong, spokesman for a local election monitor.

Andal Ampatuan Snr was the governor of the province at the time of the massacre. Then president Gloria Arroyo helped fund a personal army for him that was used as a proxy force against Muslim separatist rebels.

Aside from Ampatuan Snr, five of his sons and two of his grandsons are on trial. In total 93 people, many of them alleged gunmen, are on trial.

But the justice proceedings are expected to take years to complete and victims' relatives, as well as rights groups, fear the Ampatuans are using the time to sabotage the case by killing or intimidating witnesses.

Three witnesses and three more potential witnesses have been killed since 2010, according to local police.

The Ampatuans deny all charges against them.

Winner named in Compostela special polls Posted at 05/18/2013 6:25 PM | Updated as of 05/18/2013 6:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has proclaimed Lema Bolo the newly-elected mayor of Compostela town after a tension-filled special election.

Bolo won against rival Dolfo Ang by over 300 votes.

Incumbent Mayor Reynaldo Castillo, meanwhile, won as vice mayor.

A special election had to be held in Barangay Gabi after the ballots intended for precincts in the village ended up in Baguio City.


Husband, wife clinch Basilan capital top posts By John Unson (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 - 12:00am 

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – If a son is now the superior of his father in Sulu’s provincial leadership, a wife-and-husband tandem is set to rule in Lamitan City, Basilan.

Rose Furigay, wife of Lamitan outgoing mayor Roderick, was elected mayor of the city, with the husband also winning as vice-mayor.

“The chief executive of Lamitan City starting June 30 is Mrs. Furigay, while the one who will lead the city council as its presiding chairman is Mr. Furigay. This is something that has never been seen in the more than 20-year history of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” said ARMM governor-elect, Mujiv Hataman.

The city board of canvassers proclaimed the Furigays Thursday night.

Lamitan City is the provincial capital of Basilan, a component province of the autonomous region.

Mrs. Furigay defeated two aspirants for the mayoral post, her nephew, Hegem Furigay, and vice-mayor, Arleigh Eisma.

Mr. Furigay trounced lone rival, Donel Ramos, a political neophyte, in the vice mayoral race.

Climaco wins Zambo City mayoral seat By Roel Pareño ( | Updated May 14, 2013 - 4:22pm

ZAMBOANGA City, Philippines - House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and1st District Rep. Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar is expected to be proclaimed anytime as the winner in the mayoralty race in this southern port city after her closest rival publicly conceded defeat.

Rep. Erico Fabian of the 2nd district conceded after early showing of the election results giving Climaco a wide margin of votes.

“I tip my hat to all the winners and congratulate my friend Beng. The people have spoken and we have to respect their decision,” Fabian said.

The Commission on Elections' (Comelec) partial and unofficial result at the city level showed Climaco, running under the Liberal Party (LP), leading the mayoralty race with 85,505 votes or about 83.70 percent of the 108,848 total number of votes cast.

Fabian got only 14,016 votes as of Tuesday 1 p.m.

Climaco’s runningmate in the 1st district, incumbent Mayor Celso Lobregat (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), is also leading the congressional race with 21,770 votes or 42.44 percent from the total 57,792 total votes cast, against former priest Crisanto dela Cruz with 17,002 votes or 33.44 percent.

Mayor Lobregat's brother Jomar, who is gunning for the 2nd District's congressional seat, is tailing behind independent candidate Lilia Nuño, who has received 14,175 votes. Jomar has only garnered 12,858 votes.

The other members of local Team Pnoy under Climaco and Lobregat also dominated the local elections.

Zambo Sibugay new gov proclaimed By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The province of Zamboanga Sibugay has a new governor after the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed a town mayor who defeated incumbent Gov. Rommel Jalosjos in the gubernatorial race.

Diplahan Mayor Wilter Palma was proclaimed Tuesday night at the provincial canvassing center in Ipil town, lawyer Oliver Alar, head of the provincial board of canvassers, said.

Alar said Palma garnered 118,575 votes while Jalosjos got 113,616. Early canvassing showed a neck-to-neck battle between the two candidates.

Jalosjos’ brother, reelectionist second district Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Jr. was defeated by Ann Hofer.

Jalosjos’ party mates in the vice gubernatorial, first district congressional and provincial board seat races were winning.

Incumbent first district Rep. Belma Cabilao, an ally of Jalosjos, trounced Palma’s son, Wilter II.

Jalosjos clan keeps grip on Dapitan, loses Zamboanga peninsula ( | Updated May 15, 2013 - 5:22pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The clan of former congressman Romeo Jalosjos kept its grip on Dapitan despite facing tough competition from rivals.

Nene, Romeo's sister who ran under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), was proclaimed winner in the mayoralty race with almost all her partymates leading the polls except for her vice-mayor.

Nene received 10, 510 votes and trounced incumbent mayor Agapito Cardino 9,710 out of 23,069 voters who cast their ballots.

The Jalosjos camp is hoping to sweep the election race in Dapitan City.

However, the Jalosjos camp also took a hit in Zamboanga Sibugay province as re-electionist Governor Rommel Jalosjos trailed behind rival Wilter Palma who garnered 118,575 votes against 113,616 votes of the former.

Palma was proclaimed winner in the gubernatorial race Tuesday midnight.

Meanwhile, 1st district Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Jr. bowed out the race against Ann Hofer (LP). Hofer garnered 50,345 votes while Romeo Jr. got 36,277.

Belma Cabilao, an ally of the Jalosjos family, meanwhile contnues to lead in the 2nd district of Zamboanga Sibugay against Wilter Palma II.

Meanwhile, the Comelec regional canvassing showed Team Pnoy’s Berto Uy (Liberal Party) leading over 3rd district Rep. Cesar Jalosjos (Nationalista Party) in the gubernatorial race in Zamboanga del Norte.

Uy, a former Dipolog mayor and husband of incumbent Mayor Evelyn Tang Uy, has so far garnered 89,980 or more than half of total 150,981 registered voters in the area.

Bullet still enjoys a slim margin in the 1st district against the administration’s bet Vicente Balisado with 30,359 and 29,048 votes respectively.

Incumbent Zamboanga del Norte Gov. Rolando Yebes, a partymate of Jalosjos, is trailing behind 2nd district Rep. Dodoy Labadlabad.

Another relative of Jalosjos - Hanah Jalojosjos-Parreño – is also losing her bid against Isagani Amatong (LP) with 36,613 votes as against Hannah's 29,933 votes.

In Zamboanga del Sur, Gov. Antonio Cerilles was uncontested. Cerilles was supposed to be in a showdown with Dominador Jajoslos, who was disqualified by the Commission on Elections owing to a pending arrest warrant that stemmed from charges and conviction some four decades ago.

Cerilles camp, a known political kingpin in Zamboanga del Sur, is dominating the provincial politics with incumbent 1st district Rep. Victor Yu (NPC) garnering 120,656 votes against incumbent Pagadian City Mayor Sammy Co (LP) with only 81,961 votes.

Co was unable to campaign owing to his involvement in a multi-million investment scam.

Cerilles' wife, incumbent 2nd district Rep. Aurora Cerilles, is also winning the polls with 64,826 votes against Cat Jalojos with 36,967 votes. - Roel Pareño

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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