Alice Guo

Senate panel cites Alice Guo in contempt over absence at POGO probe

Bonz Magsambol

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Senate panel cites Alice Guo in contempt over absence at POGO probe

OPPOSITION LEADER. Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros.

Senate PRIB

(1st UPDATE) Bamban Mayor Alice Guo has been snubbing the hearings of the Senate committee chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros since June 26 due to 'stress.' The panel cites 7 others in contempt.

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality on Wednesday, July 10, cited Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac, and seven others in contempt for snubbing the hearings on illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGOs).

“They are cited in contempt,” Senate Risa Hontiveros said at the fourth hearing of her committee.

The seven others cited in contempt are the following:

  • Nancy J. Gamo
  • Dennis Cunanan
  • Wenyi Lin
  • Seimen L. Guo
  • Jian Zhong Guo
  • Wesley Guo
  • Sheila Guo
Senate panel cites Alice Guo in contempt over absence at POGO probe

Hontiveros said that once Senate President Chiz Escudero signs the order to arrest the eight for contempt, this will set the motion for their arrest. Escudero earlier said that the Senate is ready to order Guo’s arrest if she snubbed the hearing again.

Prior to Hontiveros’ announcement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian reiterated his motion to cite the personalities in contempt for failing to appear at the Senate hearings despite being subpoenaed by the panel.

This, said Gatchalian, reflected their “lack of respect for the institution, for the Senate” which was giving them a chance to present their side.

Guo, whose alleged involvement in illegal POGO operations in Tarlac have been the subject of Senate hearings since May, also skipped the hearing on June 26, prompting Hontiveros to issue a subpoena for her to attend.

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The Senate panel ALSO issued subpoenas to the following to attend the next probe:

  • Jaimielyn S. Cruz
  • Roderick Paul B. Pujante
  • Juan Miguel Alpas
  • Katherine Cassandra Ong
  • Alberto Rodulfo “AR” de la Serna
  • Jonathan Mendoza
  • Ronelyn B. Baterna
  • Michael Bryce B. Mascarenas
  • Stephanie B. Mascarenas
  • Rodrigo A. Banda
  • Jing Gu
  • Xiang Tan
  • Daniel Salcedo Jr.
  • Chona Alejandre
  • Duanren Wu

A day before the hearing on Tuesday, July 9, Guo’s lawyer, Stephen David, said that Guo was not keen on attending the Wednesday hearing because she was supposedly “traumatized” by being “shamed” during the past hearings.

“Kausap ko siya kahapon ng umaga. Ako, as much as possible, hinihikayat ko siya. Ang problema kasi masyado siyang traumatized sa pagpapahiya sa kanya. Physically and emotionally draining sa kanya lalo na ‘yung mga bashers ‘nya,” David said.

(I spoke to her yesterday morning. As much as possible, I’m encouraging her to attend. The problem really is she is traumatized by her being shamed [during the hearings]. It’s physically and emotionally draining for her, especially by what bashers say about her.)

David said that Guo is still in the country. “Magkausap kami sa phone, she assured me na nasa Pilipinas siya. Ako naniniwala ako na nasa Pilipinas lang siya,” he said. (I spoke with her via phone call and she assured me that she’s still in the Philippines. I believe she’s still here.)

In a statement on Tuesday, Hontiveros said that Guo and her lawyers should respect the laws of the country. The senator was reacting to the statement from Guo’s camp that they do not expect a “fair” hearing at the Senate, and that it’s only in court where they “expect a fair trial.”

“Our jurisprudence is clear and consistent. The Supreme Court has recognized that the invocation of the right against self-incrimination can only be done when a question is being asked,” she said.

On June 27, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed that the fingerprints of the suspended mayor and Guo Hua Ping – the Chinese woman who is suspected to be the real identity of the local official – match, meaning they are “one and same” person, according to Hontiveros.

Hontiveros said that the NBI finding was the “strongest evidence” to strip Guo of her elective post. She also urged the Office of the Solicitor General “to expedite its filing of a quo warranto case against” Guo.

The Bamban mayor is under preventive suspension ordered by the Ombudsman. The suspension was due to a graft case filed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government over serious illegal acts and her link to illegal activities of POGOs. –


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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.