Alice Guo

[Newspoint] The ominous case of Alice Guo

Vergel O. Santos

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

[Newspoint] The ominous case of Alice Guo

Raffy de Guzman

Indeed, the ominous case of Alice Guo is emblematic of our nation’s relationship to China. We conduct it with uncertainty and trepidation; China does it malevolently and with impunity.

The case of Alice Guo fits so credibly in China’s plot to dominate us it just has to be viewed exclusively in that context.

And it should be decided with dispatch. If we tarry longer in determining what she really is, she could beat us to it: She could find ways to materialize papers showing she is what she claims – a Filipino – and thus manage to stay as the properly elected mayor of a Philippine town. But elected in whose service?

Since appropriating our West Philippine Sea in a deal with then-president Rodrigo Duterte, in 2016, the People’s Republic of China has been sending many of its nationals inland, ostensibly as investors, staffs, and workers. Understandably, in an attempt to establish a central foothold, they have populated Metro Manila most conspicuously – more and more of them are yet being tracked. Other places, though, have also begun to take a fair influx.

Only recently, in Cagayan Valley, thousands of Chinese mainlanders were found in residence, some enrolled in universities but not attending classes – it is reported that for P2 million a masteral can be had, apparently as a cover. Cagayan is bounded by those commandeered waters, and also a mere hour and a half by air from Taiwan, the breakaway self-governed island nation communist China has been threatening to muscle back into the fold.

But then, there’s also Bamban town, in Tarlac, in the central plain. You would think it an unlikely prospect for a Chinese outpost, but that’s exactly where Alice Guo is mayor. Now made to explain, she must be scrambling to put together a documentation of her life and lineage, which, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros, have remained “opaque.”

Given, however, our culture of official corruption and her incredible wealth, estimated at P300 million (it was not specified whether that takes into account a helicopter and the supposedly only McLaren hereabouts, a car floor-priced at P12 million), Guo can forget Recto Ave., the nation’s faking center until the fakers went official. She can now go straight to the right agencies.

Meantime, until she gets her records fixed, she can go on pleading failure of memory in order to dodge questions. She did say, replying to a question, that she was 37 years old but not how she managed that one moment of mental clarity and certainty.

In fact, a document showing when, where, and to whom she was born, questions she would not answer with the same certainty, has turned up. Nothing offhand is found to show anything that can be held against her – or else by now we’d have heard about it. That makes it not too hard to imagine records of her assets, acquisitions, incomes, and tax payments also surfacing suddenly; or certifications validating the schooling she claims to have had at home all her life.

She does speak Filipino like a native, but, like other foreign tongues, it can be learned to that level of fluency at the intelligence desk of a country predisposed to espionage. Otherwise, it can be learned in-country in the course of a long posting.

In any case, we only have Guo’s word for it: “I’m not a spy,” she told the Senate committee investigating her links to a Chinese gang involved in gambling and “other illegal activities” in her town. Those “other illegal activities” were not specified, but these could be any of the crimes related to gambling especially where the Chinese are involved – loan sharking, kidnapping, prostitution, money laundering, and drugs.

Apparently, the operation was so profitable all around that some of Guo’s constituents were inspired to go public with praise for her. I myself have heard no one from Bamban say anything not good about her – not in the news, anyway.

I caught a barangay official on television saying that in her mere two years in office she had lifted the town from poverty and obscurity. A lift from obscurity, definitely, but how she managed the first lift the reporter didn’t ask – in yet another display of the sort of watchdog shortcomings that has emboldened the likes of Guo.

On the other hand, in a case of dubious efficiency, the authorities lost no time in deporting the 165 Chinese caught in the crime Guo had enabled. Thus went the 165 potential firsthand witnesses against her.

And by our collective default, much of it due to a culture not only of corruption but also of patronage, she may have assured herself of the time and space that would allow her to wiggle out of the bind she has found herself in.

Indeed, the ominous case of Alice Guo is emblematic of our nation’s relationship to China. We conduct it with uncertainty and trepidation; China does it malevolently and with impunity. –

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