Alice Guo

Alice Guo knocks on Malacañang’s doors, seeks fair probe into her dealings

Dwight de Leon

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Alice Guo knocks on Malacañang’s doors, seeks fair probe into her dealings

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

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Alice Guo did not make a personal appearance in Malacañang on Tuesday, as it was her lawyers who submitted the letter addressed to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin

MANILA, Philippines – Suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo wrote to Malacañang officials on Tuesday, June 18, denying the mountain of accusations against her, and requesting a fair investigation into her life.

Alice Guo knocks on Malacañang’s doors, seeks fair probe into her dealings

Guo did not personally visit the Palace on Tuesday. It was her lawyers who went to Malacañang’s record office to file the letter addressed to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin through Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) Executive Director Gilbert Cruz.

Ako ay magalang at buong pagkukumbabang humihiling sa kagalang-galang na opisina ng PAOCC na magsagawa ng isang masusi at walang kinikilingang imbestigasyon sa mga paratang na ito,” the letter read.

(I humbly ask the kind PAOCC office to conduct a thorough and impartial probe into these allegations.)

The local chief executive of the small town in Tarlac has made national headlines and drawn intense scrutiny over her alleged connections with Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in her jurisdiction.

In her letter, she denied that she sought city hall’s top post to protect the Baofu Land Development, a POGO hub in the area.

A document from the Securities and Exchange Commission named Guo as a major shareholder of the business, even though she claimed she already divested from the company before she ran for mayor in 2022.

Walang katotohanan ang paratang na ang layunin ng pagkakatatag ng Baofu Land Development Incorporated ay para sa money laundering at upang magpatayo ng isang POGO Hub sa Bamban,” Guo said.

(There is no truth to allegations that Baofu Land Development Incorporated was founded to facilitate money laundering transactions and create a POGO hub in Bamban.)

Akin pong binibigyang diin na mali ang paratang na ang aking pagdivest mula sa Baofu ay peke o bogus dahil ito ay may sapat na dokumento,” she added.

(I also insist that it is wrong to say that my move to divest from Baofu is fake because this was properly documented.)

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Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier flagged Guo’s alleged “criminal ties,” citing two of her fellow incorporators of Baofu Land Development: Chinese national Zhang Ruijin and Dominican Republic national Lin Baoying, who were convicted in Singapore’s largest money laundering case.

Guo also denied allegations of involvement in money laundering, human trafficking, and kidnapping schemes.

Ang mga organisadong krimen tulad ng money laundering, human trafficking, kidnapping at illegal POGO operations ay karaniwang naisasagawa nang patago ng mga malalaking grupong may sariling agenda,” Guo wrote.

(Organized crimes like money laundering, human trafficking, kidnapping and illegal POGO operations are usually conducted covertly by large groups with their own agenda.)

Ang pagsasakdal sa isang mayor ng pagkakasangkot sa mga ganitong klase ng aktibidad nang walang sapat na ebidensya ay hindi makatarungan at nakasisira sa integridad ng opisina, at ng reputasyon ng indibidwal at ng institusyong kanyang pinaglilingkuran,” she added.

(Accusing a mayor of involvement in these kinds of activities without sufficient evidence is unfair. It tarnishes the integrity of this office, and the reputation of an individual and the office that they serve.)

Guo’s letter did not make mention of allegations that she was planted by China to infiltrate local politics in the Philippines.

The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended Guo, in response to the complaint filed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which wanted her out of city hall while the investigation against her was ongoing.

Guo is being accused of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, while in office.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has publicly backed the probe against Guo, saying that politicians in Tarlac whom he knew personally have not heard of her. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.