Mayor Guo wants mom to come out

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Mayor Guo wants mom to come out
Bamban Mayor Alice Guo attends a Senate hearing on alleged human trafficking and POGO operations on May 22.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Will the real mother of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo please come out?

To finally settle questions on her nationality, the camp of the embattled mayor is appealing for her biological mother to step forward.

“If you are the mother… if you really love your daughter, come out. Your daughter is going through this. You’re the only one who can say that she is your daughter,” Guo’s lawyer Stephen David said in Filipino over “Storycon” on One News yesterday.

Guo, in an earlier interview with ABS-CBN News, claimed that she was born out of wedlock. Her biological mother, she said, was a kasambahay or helper of her Chinese father. She also claimed that her mother left her after she was born.

The mayor’s claim regarding her mother’s identity was contrary to the contents of her birth certificate, which was registered late with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

It identified her parents as Angelito Guo and Amelia Leal, who were supposedly married and had two other children.

A PSA official earlier told senators that Leal does not have existing records with the agency.

Asked about the possible falsification of documents, David said the Bamban mayor cannot be held criminally liable as she was not the one who registered her birth at the PSA.

“What she knows is that she is the daughter of her father’s helper. But the birth certificate in question, who submitted that?... She did not submit it, she has no participation in that regard, so how can she have any criminal liability?” added the lawyer.

Guo’s father, whom the mayor confirmed to be a Chinese national, reportedly was the one who registered the mayor’s birth when she was 17 years old. He will be invited to the next Senate hearing.

During the interview, David expressed support for the Senate’s plan to summon others involved in the matter, as well as to hold an executive session in the next hearing.

Guo’s lawyer said they have not received any formal communication regarding possible cases against the mayor.

He also confirmed plans to file charges against those who are making “below the belt” claims, such as those claiming to be Guo’s father or siblings.

“When you malign the reputation of someone, even if she is being accused of something, that is not fair because she is not yet charged before a court,” said David.

Guo, he said, will run for reelection in 2025, stressing that her constituents should have a say on the issue regarding their mayor.

Booted from NPC

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) stalwart Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants Mayor Guo expelled from the party over her alleged ties to money laundering and syndicates.

“Personally – based on what I am seeking – my take is that she should be expelled from NPC because of her ties to illegal POGO,” Gatchalian said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum yesterday, referring to Philippine offshore gaming operators.

Gatchalian made this call as he detailed Guo’s alleged dealings with fugitives in setting up an offshore gaming hub in her town.

Her ties to criminal syndicates should be enough reason to kick her out of NPC, which she only joined as mayor because it was the ruling party in Tarlac, said Gatchalian, who is a member of the NPC advisory council.

Guo ran as an independent in 2022.

“I will air my views as a member of the advisory council and stress the importance of maintaining integrity as members of the NPC. Keeping her would set a bad precedent because she is not the type of member we want for our party,” Gatchalian said.

“It is important for members to have a high level of integrity and a good moral conduct, by not being involved in this kind of criminality,” he added.

The senator also sounded the alarm about the possibility that Guo’s family of companies could have been used for money laundering, citing the Guo family farm and embroidery business which have good cash flow despite not making an income.

“We did a lot of research in expanding our investigation to look into money laundering. We estimate that it took P6.1 billion to invest in the 10-hectare property with 37 buildings. Where did that money come from?” Gatchalian said.

Guo’s alleged involvement in other crimes would be tackled in the Senate’s next executive session hearing, Gatchalian said.

‘Hidden agenda’

The POGO businesses of the Chinese businessmen in the Philippines may have other agenda, according to former national defense chief Norberto Gonzales.

“We don’t know, there may be another hidden agenda behind POGO operations in the Philippines. The Chinese are known to be good at strategy,” Gonzales said.

His statements came as the Senate is also investigating Mayor Guo for her alleged involvement in POGO operations of Chinese nationals in her hometown.

The reported POGO in Bamban, Tarlac has turned into a hub for those involved in online love scam, crypto scam and all other scamming, based on reports received by government authorities, prompting the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime to conduct a raid into the so-called “mini BGC” in Bamban town.– Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Gerry Lee Gorit

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