A PARTY-LIST group now seeking votes in the May elections is criticized by the Moro rebels and civil society groups as the Ampatuan clan’s “front” that seeks to benefit members of the family alone.

In a report by Luwaran.com, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the party-list Adhikain ng Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (Adam) represented by Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan is aimed at benefiting the Ampatuan family.

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The Luwaran report based its story on the statement issued by a certain Ma. Cecilia L. Rodriguez and was emailed to the MILF. It was learned that Rodriguez writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and is involved in various non-government organizations.

"We, in the civil society organizations here in Mindanao, cannot stop wondering why a party-list organization, such as the one organized by the Ampatuans, can acquire accreditation where in fact it does not qualify as a marginalized sector and it was organized mainly for the benefit of the Ampatuan clan," the statement read.

"[Undersecretary] Zam and Andal Sr. had come a long way in deceiving our government with their schemes in providing alternative views of the Bangsamoro problem. Back in early 2000, their campaign was to fight the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). They used broadcast media to expose the corruptions in the ranks of the MILF and their clinging to Islamic extremism. It was a noble cause at first. Their fight was able to convince many Maguindanaons that it was the right thing to do to stop the MILF. It convinced the datus and big clans to form alliance with them and fight the MILF. But, the fight is for the benefit of the Ampatuan clan and the family of Andal Sr.," it added.

The statement added that in June 2009, Andal Sr. gave the blessing for Zamzamin Ampatuan to organize his party-list organization named Adam.

It also said that the first division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) handled the Adam's petition for accreditation. On August 17, 2009, Adam was filed with the Clerk of the Comelec, and in November 2009, Adam was accredited as a party-list organization approved by Commissioner Rene Sarmiento.

Sun.Star Davao tried to get the reaction of Zamzamin Ampatuan on the issue but his aide said it would be better if it be discussed extensively over coffee.

Maharlika is a Sanskrit word meaning "noble". Its equivalent term among Moros and Indios during the pre-Spanish times was "datu", a term or title that is still retained and practiced among the former and in recent centuries by the indigenous peoples in Mindanao.

In its older context, maharlikas or datus were the ruling elites, the powerful, and the wealthy. Today, they are still largely the ruling groups in most Moro provinces in Mindanao. Even in the Philippines today, many or most of those elected into the higher echelon of government are descendants of former maharlikas.

Roughly translated, Adhikain ng Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika is rendered into English as "Aspiration of the great son of the noble or datu". (BOT/With PR)