Wednesday, December 9, 2009

‘Martial law prevented Ampatuans from telling all about Arroyo’

12/10/2009 | 05:06 AM

Original Story:

The imposition of martial law in Maguindanao has enabled the administration to prevent members of the Ampatuan clan from revealing their role in the alleged electoral fraud in 2004 which gave President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo six years in Malacañang, an academic who has long studied the politics in the province said Wednesday.

Francisco Lara, a research associate from the London School of Economics, said that martial law in Maguindanao has successfully prevented a potential “explosion" of information from the Ampatuans regarding the electoral fraud in 2004.

“One of the side effects of the rupture of this alliance would be someone in the know would turn from concealing to revealing what actually happened. Martial law actually enabled the forces of the state to isolate the leaders of the clan and enter into negotiations with them," he said in a forum in Quezon City Wednesday.

“These negotiations are of course outside the (eyes) of the people. We will still find out in the next weeks what will come out of those negotiations," he added.

Lara, however, pointed out that the dismantling of the Ampatuan clan also brought a problem to the administration, especially in the coming 2010 elections.

“The big problem now of the administration is who will operate for them in Muslim Mindanao in 2010? The Ampatuans facilitated their ‘operations’ there in 2004. Now, they have to restructure their system of electoral fraud there," he said.

Arroyo has been alleged as rigging the 2004 elections, made public by the “Hello Garci" scandal. The “Hello, Garci Tapes" refer to wiretapped phone conversations between a man, believed to be former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, and a woman, believed to be President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Ampatuan clan is said to have been instrumental in delivering votes from the provinces of Muslim Mindanao to Arroyo in 2004.

Lara said the administration may already be conducting “discussions" with other political clans in the region following the fall of the Ampatuans to make sure votes from Muslim Mindanao would favor the administration bets in 2010. - JV/GMANews.TV

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