DILG recommends preventive suspension vs Bamban Mayor Alice Guo

James Relativo - Philstar.com
DILG recommends preventive suspension vs Bamban Mayor Alice Guo
Photo of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo
From Mayor Alice Leal Guo's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Internal and Local Government (DILG) recommended a preventive suspension against controversial Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo following unanswered questions regarding her personal background and alleged illegal activities.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. issued a statement on Saturday regarding the investigation into Guo's alleged links to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) activities, human trafficking and surveillance.

"The DILG recommended to the Ombudsman the issuance of a preventive suspension against Mayor Guo, to prevent any influence on the continuing investigations of our and other agencies," he said in a statement.

"The DILG does not have the power to directly suspend or dismiss local officials. Hence, the DILG defers to the Ombudsman regarding any sanctions that may be imposed against Guo, in line with its disciplinary authority over elective officials of local governments under Section 21 of Republic Act No. 6770."




RA 6770 refers to the Ombudsman Act of 1989, a law which provides for the functional and structural organization of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Sens. Risa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatachalian had earlier grilled Guo about her suspected Chinese citizenship after the mayor failed to provide details about her birth place, school records and late birth registration at the age of 17.

Section 39 (a) of the Local Government Code of the Philippines requires local elective officials, such as mayors, to be a citizen of the Philippines.

Guo in her proclamation rally in 2022 claimed that her father, Anghelito Guo (real name Jian Zhong Guo), was Chinese while her mother was a Filipina.

While Guo's father is now registered as a Filipino, Gatchalian questioned why Anghelito was identified as Chinese in documents related to his embroidery business.

'Troubling findings of illegal acts'

Abalos had earlier created a seven-man task force on April 5, 2024 to investigate the allegations concerning Guo's link to illegal POGO operations in Bamban.

"The Task Force’s updated report has been submitted today, May 17, 2024, to the Office of the Ombudsman for their appropriate action," the DILG official said.

"Based on the report, there are troubling findings of serious illegal acts which may have severe legal implications."

At least 875 people were rounded up at the compound of Zuan Yuan Technology Inc., a POGO hub in Bamban, last March following complaints of a Vietnamese national who escaped the facility. The raid was based on information that the company was involved in human trafficking and crimes like love scams.

Gatchalian earlier said that he had obtained documents saying that the electric bill of the said facility was named after Guo herself. The Philippine National Police also said that they are investigating the place for suspected surveillance and hacking of government websites.

Legal challenges

The Office of the Solicitor General had earlier formed a team to determine if Guo is illegally holding or exercising a public office, a move that some lawmakers support.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. likewise called for an investigation on Guo, claiming that "no one knows the mayor" prior to the 2022 elections. He said this while he was seen in a photo with Guo March of that year during the election campaign.

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