Criminal raps vs Mayor Guo to be filed next week, PAOCC says

Kristine Daguno-Bersamina - Philstar.com
Criminal raps vs Mayor Guo to be filed next week, PAOCC says
In this Facebook post on May 31, 2024 shows Mayor Alice Guo with senior citizens of Bamban, Tarlac.
Facebook / Mayor Alice Leal Guo

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) announced on Saturday that suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo will face criminal charges next week due to alleged illegal activities in a compound behind her town’s municipal hall.

According to PAOCC spokesperson Winston John Casio, an interagency council consisting of the PAOCC, Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General, and Philippine National Police will meet on Tuesday to finalize the charges.

The charges, described as "serious" and "non-bailable," will target Guo and others involved in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) hub in Bamban, Tarlac.

“Criminal charges will be filed against a good number of people on Friday with regards to the Bamban operation,” Casio said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City. 

Guo is under Senate investigation for her alleged involvement with Zun Yuan Technology Inc., a POGO hub raided by police and military in March for alleged human trafficking and serious illegal detention at the Baofu Land Development Inc. compound.

The same compound was raided in 2023 when the POGO hub was still called Hongsheng. It was renamed Zun Yuan after the raid.

The PAOCC spokesperson mentioned that Guo’s name and signature appear on many documents related to the case but withheld specific details to avoid giving her legal team an advantage. 

"We have strong evidence that will support the criminal allegations against Mayor Alice Guo and a good number of people in the Bamban operations,” Casio said.

The camp of Mayor Alice Guo previously asked the Office of the Ombudsman to lift her six-month preventive suspension over her alleged link to the Bamban POGO hub.

The Ombudsman ordered on May 31 the preventive suspension of Guo and two other Bamban officials, namely business permit and licensing officer Edwin Ocampo and municipal legal officer Adenn Sigua, citing “strong evidence showing their guilt.” 

The complaint was based on findings of a task force created by the DILG to investigate the culpability of local officials in abetting POGO firm Zun Yuan’s illegal activities in Bamban.

Several lawmakes such as Sens. Risa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatchalian renewed their call for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to ban POGO firms, citing their threat to national security and ties to organized crime.

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