Mayor Alice Guo may be connected to Porac POGO hub — senator

Bella Cariaso - Philstar.com
Mayor Alice Guo may be connected to Porac POGO hub � senator
In a Facebook post dated Dec. 19, 2022 shows Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac.
Facebook / Mayor Alice Leal Guo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who conducted an ocular inspection at Lucky South 99 POGO hub with Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOOC) officials, led by Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz, said Bamban Mayor Guo may also have connections with the Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) hub in Porac, Pampanga.

“Based on the information, she has a connection here (POGOs), we can’t just divulge the details right now as the investigation is still ongoing… I can only say that the people she talked to were also seen here in this POGO. That’s the link that we are seeing,” Gatchalian said.

Cruz showed Gatchalian and members of the media three POGO buildings earlier raided by PAOCC.

“My first impression is that we have seen that this is the most brutal, violent, and largest (hub) we have ever been to. The evidence is really strong that there was torture, there was prostitution and they found a passport,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian also inspected the building where the employees stay and another where a KTV bar was located. The KTV building had many rooms on the second floor and where prostitution is suspected.

He added that the Bamban POGO hub could be connected with the raided POGO in Porac as these were both built from 2019 to 2022.

“Why were they able to build a facility where construction is prohibited? So, we can’t say now what the details of the links are, but it definitely has links to Bamban and Porac and other Pogo,” said the senator. “Because they are syndicates, they can set up a lot, we just can’t say now because it is still under investigation... the mastermind is in all the Pogo hubs.”

Gatchalian expressed disappointment that the local government unit (LGU) failed to inspect the POGO hub, even if they had the power to do so.

“My first question is how did it get into the LGU and barangay? The mayor has broad powers to inspect sanitation, electrical and general welfare of the public,” he added, noting that a mayor could not just claim innocence.

In a separate interview, PAOCC spokesman Winston Casio detailed the digital and paper trails that have increasingly implicated Guo in two scam farms raided by authorities.

“Her participation in Baofu is quite clear, and connections between Baofu and Lucky South 99 are becoming more evident as we review more documents,” Casio said on Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon.

Documents obtained from Pagcor and Baofu Land Development suggest that the mayor’s involvement extends beyond land transactions as it already borders on operational activities.

Casio indicated that the evidence supports the theory that the Bamban and Porac scam farms are branches of the same criminal organization involving the mayor’s family.

On Friday, Guo was charged with qualified human trafficking under Republic Act 9208. Additional charges are being prepared with submission to the Department of Justice expected in the coming week.

Another person of interest, Catherine Cassandra Lee Ong, has emerged in the investigation.

“Documents and applications filed with Pagcor under her name and her visible presence with the mayor during the Bamban mayoral campaign suggest substantial involvement,” Casio said, adding that numerous links between Ong and Guo have been discovered.

Casio also reported on Zhang Jie, a manager of the POGO in Porac, who was intercepted at Davao International Airport while attempting to leave the country.

“She was positively identified by witnesses and is being returned to Manila for detention at the Bureau of Immigration facility in Bicutan, Taguig,” Casio confirmed, adding that PAOCC is monitoring at least 12 to 14 persons of interest, including the Guo family and their business associates.

“While an immigration lookout bulletin order has not yet been issued, alerts are in place to prevent their departure from the Philippines,” Casio said. — Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mark Ernest Villeza, Ric Sapnu, Rainier Allan Ronda

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