Who is Andal Ampatuan Sr.?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2015 08:48 AM | Updated as of Jul 16 2015 08:26 AM

The alleged brains behind the Maguindanao massacre is now fighting for his life.

Andal Ampatuan, Sr., the 74-year-old patriarch of the Ampatuan political clan, first rose to power as vice-mayor of Shariff Aguak (formerly Maganoy) in Maguindanao during the Marcos regime, according to journalist Ellen Tordesillas.

He solidified his clan's hold on political power in Maguindanao by being a staunch ally of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her Lakas-Kampi-CMD bloc.

Maguindanao was the only province that delivered a 12-0 sweep for Arroyo's senatorial ticket in the 2007 midterm elections.

One of his daughters, Rebecca, told the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in 2010 that her father had 6 wives and 40 children.

Unable to run for a fourth term, he was grooming Andal Jr., one of the Ampatuan patriarch's 11 children to his first wife, Bai Laila, of becoming next governor of the province.

Then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu challenged the Ampatuans' control of Mindanao by running for governor against Andal Jr. in the 2010 elections.

That is how the Maguindanao massacre unfolded on the morning of November 23, 2009, when 58 people including Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters and at least 34 journalists, were killed in Ampatuan town allegedly on orders of Andal Sr. and Andal Jr.

Two days later, on November 25, 2009, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD political party expelled Andal Sr. and his two sons, Gov. Datu Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Andal Jr.

Andal Jr. surrendered on November 26, 2009, while his father Andal Sr. and his son Datu Zaldy were arrested December 5.

Andal Sr. was arraigned inside a Manila prison on June 1, 2011. He pleaded not guilty.

While in prison, Ampatuan Sr. was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and was brought to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, where he was found to be suffering also from terminal liver cancer, among other illnesses.

His lawyer said the Ampatuan patriarch suffered a massive heart attack in the hospital Monday morning and is now in a coma.