Lawmakers back filing of case vs Tarlac Mayor Guo

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Lawmakers back filing of case vs Tarlac Mayor Guo
Photo from the website of the Bamban municipal government shows Mayor Alice Guo’s McLaren 620R supercar, which recently won an award in a motor show in Concepcion, Tarlac.

MANILA, Philippines — The plan of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file a quo warranto case against Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban town in Tarlac got the backing of two members of the House of Representatives.

A quo warranto is a legal remedy that is used to challenge a person’s rights to hold a public or corporate office.

At a briefing last Thursday, Reps. Bienvenido Abante Jr. of Manila and Zia Alonto Adiong of Lanao del Sur declared that it is imperative to ensure that public servants fulfill all the requirements for holding public office.

According to Abante, Guo should be stripped of mayorship if it is proven that she is not a Filipino.

“This is blatant already, this Bamban Mayor Alice Guo. (Based) on her answers, we must look if she is really a Filipino. She should not be mayor if she cannot prove her Filipino citizenship. It’s only proper that she be removed as mayor,” he said.

Guo is facing investigation at the Senate for her alleged involvement in the illegal operation of POGOs in the province.

Her identity as a Filipino is being questioned as her responses concerning her birth and family background were vague.

Abante noted that it is important to verify Guo’s Filipino citizenship as he expressed concerns over her “potential foreign influence.”

“China does not only want to control the West Philippine Sea, but the entire Philippines and even universities,” he maintained, apparently referring to the influx of Chinese students near the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites in Cagayan province.

For his part, Adiong underscored the importance of preserving the integrity of the electoral process and protecting the rights of natural-born Filipinos. “OSG just wanted to protect our electoral processes which should be for … Filipinos,” he said.

Adiong raised personal concerns regarding the citizenship acquisition process, particularly its apparent inconsistencies and inefficiencies. He sought a comprehensive review of local registry procedures.

DILG probe

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been conducting a probe on Guo in connection with both the issue on her citizenship, as well as the controversial POGO hub in her town.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos said that as early as April 5, he had ordered the creation of a task force to probe any possible administrative misconduct or neglect by LGU officials in connection with the illegal POGO hub in Bamban, Tarlac.

Benjamin Zaballa, chief operations audit division of the Internal Audit Service, was tasked to lead the task force.

The task force was ordered last May 10 to also conduct fact-finding on the concerns regarding the citizenship and eligibility for public office of Guo.

“We already created a task force way back in April. Anytime, everything will come out. This is recommendatory for the ombudsman. All actions, very comprehensive what happened. On the permits and second on citizenship,” he said.

He told The STAR that all findings are recommendatory and will be forwarded to the Office of the President and the Office of the Ombudsman as soon as they are available.

Abalos said they do not have any power to suspend or dismiss Guo as only the two offices have that authority.

President Marcos backed further investigation on Guo, citing the ongoing Senate probe, as he added that Tarlac politicians do not know her.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said that they are also gathering information to determine if Guo is illegally “holding or exercising a public office.” — Ric Sapnu, Romina Cabrera

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