Senators grill Bamban, Tarlac mayor with alleged POGO ties

Joann Manabat

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Senators grill Bamban, Tarlac mayor with alleged POGO ties

Bamban Mayor Alice Guo Facebook account

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian says there's 'damning pieces of evidence' linking Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo to POGOs recently raided by authorities

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo faced intense scrutiny during a joint Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, May 7, as senators probed her alleged connections to two raided Philippine offshore gaming operation (POGO) firms situated at a compound in her town.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatchalian probed Guo regarding her purported involvement with Zun Yuan Technology Incorporated and Hong Sheng Gaming Technology Incorporated. Hong Sheng was raided in February 2023, followed by Zun Yuan in March 2024. Hong Sheng’s name was changed to Zun Yuan. Under the new name, it was also raided in March 2024. 

Gatchalian, citing “damning pieces of evidence,” suggested Guo’s potential involvement in the operation of the POGO facility.

Guo denied any affiliation with the POGO operations. However, she did acknowledge her past role as an incorporator of Baofu Corporation, a company which owns the compound that houses the raided POGOs. But she clarified that she divested her shares upon entering politics.

“I am not in POGO. I am not involved in POGO,” Guo said. “As an incorporator of Baofu, I assisted them in obtaining a letter of no objection from the previous administration.”

The senators continued to press Guo regarding her alleged ties to the POGO operations, eliciting admissions from her regarding the ownership of a Ford Expedition found within the Baofu compound, as well as a helicopter sold to a British company in 2024. Guo also acknowledged her previous ownership of the property under her name on the Tarelco (Tarlac Electric Corporation) bill.

No records

Hontiveros criticized Guo for her evasiveness during questioning, particularly regarding her personal background, noting the absence of public records pertaining to her education and medical history.

Guo said she had no school records in the Philippines since she was homeschooled from grade school to high school, and that she did not go to college. She also could not recall the name of the institution that provided her home schooling service.

She said she was raised on a farm with just her father. The Guo family are in the hog raising business.

Hontiveros also wondered why Guo’s birth was only registered when she was already 17 years old. Guo said there are no hospital records of her birth as she was born inside their house.

Guo, currently serving her first term as local chief executive with no prior history of public service, was also asked about how she funded her campaign. She attributed her political campaign funding to assistance from friends and fellow hog raisers.

“Figuratively, you came out of nowhere tapos naging mayor kayo? Okay lang naman ‘yon, refreshing break sa political dynamics natin,” Hontiveros said, but added that they needed to know more about Guo.

(Figuratively you came out of nowhere then you became mayor? That’s okay, a refreshing break from our political dynamics.) 

The senators requested for Guo’s statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth, as well as contributions and expenditures.

Guo became the first female mayor of Bamban in 2022, when she ran as an independent candidate.

In a news conference on Wednesday, May 8, Hontiveros said the POGO case in Bamban as well as questions about the alleged POGO links and citizenship of its fueled concerns about the expanding “foothold” of China in the country. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!