Alice Guo

DILG files criminal complaint vs Bamban Mayor Alice Guo over illegal POGO

Jairo Bolledo

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DILG files criminal complaint vs Bamban Mayor Alice Guo over illegal POGO

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

The DILG says the complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman also includes other local officials of Bamban, Tarlac

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has filed a criminal complaint against Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo over the latter’s alleged involvement with an illegal Philippine Offshore and Gaming Operator (POGO) in her town.

DILG Undersecretary for External, Legal and Legislative Affairs Juan Victor Llamas told Rappler on Saturday, June 1, that the interior department filed the complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman on May 24. Llamas said their complaint against the Bamban mayor fell under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act No. 3019.

“‘Yung POGO na it was given a permit – kasi merong permit diyan eh – without the requisite, the necessary requisite. May kulang kasi sila na [requirement], pero binigyan pa rin ng permit… And then, tapos nag-expire pa ‘yung kanyang Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) license, at the time na nag-expire ‘yan eh, hindi kasi nirerevoke ni mayor ‘yung kanilang business permit,” Llamas said.

(The POGO was given a permit – because there must be a permit – without the requisite, the necessary requisite. They lacked requirements, but were still given a permit.)

He said that the mayor revoked the business permit after the Pagcor license expired. “She should have done this immediately,” he said.

“So ‘yung supervision ng mayor with regards to that POGO, ayun ang ano namin doon na hindi niya nagagampanan,” the DILG official added.

(So the supervision of the mayor with regards to that POGO, that’s what we thought she failed to do as a mayor.)

DILG files criminal complaint vs Bamban Mayor Alice Guo over illegal POGO

Aside from Guo, Llamas said the complaint also included other local officials of Bamban.

Guo is currently in hot water because of her alleged links with the Zun Yuan Technology Incorporated, which was raided by authorities in March this year due to complaints of human trafficking and serious illegal detention.

When the issues on POGOs – now called internet gaming licensees – reached the Senate, lawmakers flagged the mayor’s shady background. Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros raised the question of whether Guo was an “asset” planted by China to infiltrate local politics. The mayor also claimed she doesn’t remember basic details about her life.

The DILG’s complaint is the latest development in the government’s push to suspend Guo.

Must Read

Whatever happened to DILG’s recommendation to suspend Bamban Mayor Alice Guo?

Whatever happened to DILG’s recommendation to suspend Bamban Mayor Alice Guo?

DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos said in May that they recommended the suspension of the Bamban mayor to the Office of the Ombudsman. The DILG sent a report to the Ombudsman citing “troubling findings of serious illegal acts which may have severe legal implications.” Abalos said that the DILG reached out to Ombudsman Samuel Martires since the agency has no suspension powers.

Martires later said that his office did not receive a recommendation, but rather a fact-finding report about Guo’s case, according to a GMA News report. The Ombudsman then suggested to the DILG that it file a complaint instead with the necessary documents, so his office could examine the allegations against the local chief executive. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

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