Alice Guo

Does Amelia Leal, Mayor Alice Guo’s alleged Filipina mother, really exist?

Bonz Magsambol

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Does Amelia Leal, Mayor Alice Guo’s alleged Filipina mother, really exist?

HOT SEAT. Mayor Alice Leal Guo answers questions from senators during the continuation of the public hearing on the raided Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators facility in Bamban, Tarlac, on May 22, 2024.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Amelia Leal, claimed by Mayor Alice Guo to be her Filipina mother, doesn't have birth and marriage records, nor a death certificate

Nope, it wasn’t a teleserye.

But Filipinos who were watching the Senate hearing last Wednesday, May 22, probably felt like they were solving a puzzle when controversial Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac answered questions about her family background.

Guo faced the Senate for the second time as the chamber continued its probe into her supposed involvement in illegal Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) in her province.

Prior to the May 22 Senate face off, Guo, in an exclusive interview with journalist Karen Davila on May 20, said that she has paternal half-siblings. She claimed that she was a love child of Angelito Guo, a Chinese, and Amelia Leal, a Filipina who worked as a house help of Angelito’s wife.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, however, was able to retrieve the birth certificates of the mayor and her supposed half-siblings, Sheila and Seimen. Their birth certificates indicate that they have the same mother, Amelia.

But things got more confusing when it was found that Amelia, the supposed mother of Guo’s siblings, doesn’t have birth records at all. It’s an important piece of Guo’s background because her citizenship as a Filipino hinges on her mother who should be Filipino. Without a Filipino mother, she cannot be considered a Filipino citizen.

The supposed marriage of Angelito and Amelia is also reflected in the birth certificates of the three siblings. But here’s the catch – the three documents of the Guo siblings indicate three different marriage dates.

Text, Menu, Document

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there’s a possibility that Amelia does not exist at all, as she does not have any birth, marriage, or death certificate. “Maaari po na hindi existing ang tao (It’s possible that the person isn’t existing),” said Eliezer Ambatali of the PSA.

There’s also a possibility that Alice Guo’s mother just didn’t register. In 2019, the PSA said that some five million Filipinos nationwide remained unregistered. The cost associated with certificate application is still the most common barrier for poor parents. 

According to the PSA, a birth certificate is a vital record that establishes the birth of a child. It is used to “authenticate one’s identity and nationality, and assist with obtaining government-issued identity documents.” 

But isn’t that weird that someone who is a mayor and owns a number of businesses has murky government records?

In the hearing, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that irregularities in the Guo siblings’ birth certificates point to even more evidence of how non-Filipinos have abused the PSA’s late birth registration policy to obtain government documents.

Despite irregularities in Alice Guo’s birth records, she was able to get other government IDs, and was able to run for mayor in Bamban.

A General Information Sheet (GIS) of one of Guo’s businesses indicates her family members – her siblings Seimen and Shiela, her father Angelito (who’s Chinese name is Jianzhong Guo), and a certain Chinese national Lin Wenyi.

All of them have the same address, indicating that they were possibly living under one roof. But even the address itself was flagged by Gatchalian as dubious as he had it checked in Valenzuela City’s records.

“Itong address exactly the same address kung saan isa sa mga kaibigan namin nakatira roon. Kilala ko may-ari nito. Ang Bayle family. Were you leasing with them?” Gatchalian asked.

(This address is exactly the same address where one of my friends resides. I know the owner of this. The Bayle family.)

In response, Guo said, “Hindi ko po alam, your honor. Bata pa po ako noon (I don’t know, your honor. I was a child back then).”

But who is Lin Wenyi? Why does she have the same address as the Guos? The mayor only said she wasn’t sure about it.

A document sourced from the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc. indicates that Alice Guo, Jianzhong Guo, and Lin Wenyi are owners of QJJJ Farm.

Are Angelito and Lin Wenyi only business partners? Will Filipinos see “Amelia” testifying before the Senate after all the dubious government records presented? Or are Guo’s lawyers training someone to pose as Amelia? The plot thickens.


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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.