Mayor Guo: I am a Filipino

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Mayor Guo: I am a Filipino
Screengrab shows Bamban Mayor Alice Guo answering questions in an interview on ANC.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — She is the lovechild of a Chinese father and a Filipino househelper, and she is a Filipino, Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac asserted yesterday.

Guo denied allegations that she is involved in illegal Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs), a spy or an asset of a foreign country.

She said of all the allegations hurled against her, it is being called a spy that hurts her the most.

“I am not a spy, that’s what hurt me most. I am not a spy. I am a Filipino and I love my country. I am not a spy, I am not an asset,” she said.

Guo said her biological mother was a former maid at their farm, and that her father admitted to her when she was 12 or 14 years old she was their lovechild.

“I am a Filipino. My biological mother is a Filipina. I am a Philippine passport holder and I have only one passport. I did not grow up with my biological mother. I found out when I was 12 years old that she was a househelp,” she said in an interview with ANC Digital’s Headstart hosted by Karen Davila.

Guo said she has never met her mother personally. She apologized to Sen. Risa Hontiveros for not answering her queries during a Senate hearing, saying she did not want to disclose matters she deemed private.

“During the Senate hearing, I had a mental block. I am not from Manila, I am a probinsyana. I am not used (to being a city girl) and I was scared. I had a mental block, that’s the correct term,” she said.

Guo said hearing insinuations that she should be deported hurts as she insisted she is a Filipino citizen.

She said she chose to be a Filipino when her Chinese father asked her to pick her citizenship.

“My own mother abandoned me, now my own country is turning her back on me… is going to deport me? Where to? China, Malaysia, Singapore? I have only one passport… I am a Filipino,” she said.

Guo clarified that she did not apply for a permit or license to operate POGOs, noting she only introduced her former business partners for a letter of no objection.

She said she offered the Baofu compound to some of her associates, an area used by the Zun Yuan Technology Inc., which was raided for illegal POGO operations.

Guo denied she was a protector of POGOs, saying she now realizes that there should be such operations in her town.

“Now I’m against. Now, as long as I am mayor, I will no longer allow any POGO in my town,” she said.

No McLaren, only helicopter

Guo denied owning a luxury vehicle, a McLaren 620R, that was put on a car show contest in the nearby town of Concepcion and won.

She said she merely borrowed the McLaren from a friend and made this as an entry for Bamban in the car show.

Guo, however, admitted owning a helicopter, which she said she sold this year to a British company.

She said she acquired the helicopter in 2019 for business purposes. She said she planned to operate it as a motor taxi, noting how lucrative the business was at the time.

Guo said she was compelled to sell her helicopter as things did not turn out as she expected.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recommended putting Guo under preventive suspension for “serious illegal acts” involving POGOs.

The DILG task force recommended Guo’s suspension to the Office of the Ombudsman.

‘Criminal ties’

Hontiveros yesterday questioned Guo’s alleged ties with criminals, whom she said were incorporators in the mayor’s company, Baofu Land Development Inc.

“Mayor Alice Guo has a lot of red flags. Her records in the Philippines are not even in order, now there’s information that she has connections with criminals. Is this why she is able to afford her lavish lifestyle? Does she buy from criminals and fugitives? Choppers and luxury cars?” Hontiveros asked.

“Given her connections with criminals, I welcome a move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to remove Mayor Guo’s power over the local police. The mayor should no longer have access to our police if she is also the protector of criminals,” Hontiveros added.

Guo faced the Senate last week to answer allegations that she was backing a POGO that was raided in March.

The raiding team reportedly found evidence of human trafficking, serious illegal detention, physical abuse and even torture at the POGO hub.

Documents submitted in 2019 by the Baofu Land Development Inc. to the Securities and Exchange Commission showed the company incorporators included Guo, Filipino Rachel Joan Malonzo Carreon, Cypriot Zhiyang Huang, Chinese Zhang Ruijin and Baoying Lin of the Dominican Republic.

Zhang was convicted last month for having links to the reported “largest money laundering case in Singapore.”

According to a report by Channel News Asia, Zhang has “$41 million worth of assets overseas, including shareholdings in a Philippine real estate development company.”

Baoying Lin also allegedly faces charges.

“According to the mayor herself, her friends helped her to run in the 2022 election. Are these criminals and fugitives the friends she is talking about?” Hontiveros asked.

“Even if she says she divested from Baofu before running, the fact remains: she has ties with these criminals. Is it possible for her to run for mayor so she can protect her friends? I am looking forward to our hearing on Wednesday (today). I hope the mayor can now remember something,” Hontiveros added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it would look into information received by the office of Hontiveros that Guo has ties with criminals.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the PNP would coordinate with other law enforcement agencies in verifying the information.

The entire Bamban police is under investigation for allegedly failing to monitor the illegal activities of a POGO hub said to be connected to Guo.

The probe will cover the possible negligence of police officers assigned in Bamban. — Cecille Suerte Felipe, Emmanuel Tupas, Daphne Galvez

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