Alice Guo

Court of Appeals freezes Bamban Mayor Alice Guo’s assets

Jairo Bolledo

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Court of Appeals freezes Bamban Mayor Alice Guo’s assets

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

Aside from Alice Guo, the court also freezes the assets of Zhiyang Huang and Baoying Lin, who are linked to the raided illegal POGO hub in Bamban, Tarlac

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has frozen the assets of suspended Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac, Senator Win Gatchalian announced on Thursday, July 11.

Gatchalian said in a statement that the appellate court had granted the ex parte petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), seeking to freeze the assets of individuals and entities allegedly involved in illegal Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) activities.

Under Section 10 of Republic Act No. 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, a person or entity’s bank accounts, real properties, and personal assets may be frozen if authorities find sufficient reason to do so. Once done, they cannot use their assets and properties until the order expires.

The CA’s freeze order takes effect immediately and lasts for 20 days, unless extended by the court. As a remedy, Guo can file a motion to lift the order before the 20-day period expires, and seek a temporary restraining order or writ of injunction from the Supreme Court to stop the order. 

Also named in AMLC’s petition are Zhiyang Huang and Baoying Lin. The said individuals were linked to the Zun Yuan Technology Inc., under the BAOFU Land Development Inc., which was raided by authorities due to complaints of alleged human trafficking and serious illegal detention.

Guo was thrust into the national spotlight for her alleged ties with the illegal POGO hub raided in her town. Her nationality and citizenship were also questioned amid the Senate inquiry into the illegal POGO hubs in the country. 

She faces a non-bailable qualified trafficking complaint, which stemmed from her alleged involvement in the illegal POGO hub where human trafficking violations were allegedly committed. If the prosecutors find enough basis to pursue the case and charge her and fellow respondents for qualified trafficking, a judge will decide if warrants of arrest will be issued.

The Office of the Solicitor General previously filed a petition with a local Tarlac court seeking to cancel Guo’s birth certificate. If the OSG’s request is granted, she will lose her most important defense evidence about her identity. 

The cancellation of the birth certificate can also be used in a quo warranto case. If the quo warranto succeeds, Guo would be stripped of Filipino citizenship, which is a prerequisite to holding public office.

For snubbing the latest inquiry, the Senate cited Guo in contempt, which could pave the way for the upper legislative chamber to order her arrest. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.