Immigration lookout bulletin issued vs Guo

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Immigration lookout bulletin issued vs Guo
In a Facebook post dated Dec. 19, 2022 shows Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac.
Facebook / Mayor Alice Leal Guo

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has signed the immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against suspended Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac and several others over alleged human trafficking violations, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The ILBO has been forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the agency was tasked to monitor their movements and alert the DOJ when any of the subjects attempts to leave the country.

“The DOJ will also ask for the issuance of a preliminary hold departure order from the court,” the DOJ said in a statement on June 25.

A PHDO, if granted by the court, will prevent Guo and her co-respondents from leaving the country while the DOJ is conducting preliminary investigation of the charges filed against them.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said he had already received the three-page ILBO, dated June 21, issued by the DOJ against Mayor Guo, a certain Guo Hua Ping and 17 others. Tansingco said the alert has been encoded in their system to allow BI officers to detect any attempts to travel.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian earlier expressed his suspicion that Mayor Guo and Guo Hua Ping are one and the same person.

Last June 23, the BI intercepted at the Davao International Airport (DIA) 30-year-old Chinese national Zhang Jie, who was reportedly included in the ILBO. She was stopped from boarding her flight to Jinjiang, China. 

According to news reports, Zhang is allegedly a manager of the POGO in Porac, Pampanga.

The BI explained that an ILBO is issued by the DOJ for prudence, instructing immigration officers to double check if there are any pending arrest warrants against the subjects, any violation or infraction or to monitor their itineraries and whereabouts should they attempt to leave the country.

According to the said ILBO, considering the gravity of charges, subjects may attempt to place themselves beyond the reach of legal processes by fleeing the country, hence the BI is ordered to relay to the DOJ attempts to obtain information for the proper course of action to be undertaken by immigration officers.

Guo suspension stays

The Office of the Ombudsman has denied Mayor Guo’s appeal to lift her preventive suspension over a pending administrative case in connection with the alleged illegal activities of a POGO hub in Bamban, Tarlac.

In a nine-page order approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on June 21, the anti-graft body said it found no compelling reason to lift or reconsider its earlier order dated May 31, finding probable cause to place Guo, business permit and licensing officer (BPLO) Edwin Ocampo and municipal legal officer Adenn Sigua under preventive suspension without pay for up to six months.

“After due consideration of the factual circumstances of the instant case, this Office finds no compelling reason to reconsider and lift the Order of preventive suspension of respondents Guo, Campo and Sigua while the case against them is pending adjudication,” the ombudsman said.

Guo, Ocampo and Sigua are facing investigation by the ombudsman for administrative charges of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The complaint, filed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) last month, stemmed from Guo’s issuance of business permit to POGO firm Zun Yuan Technology Inc. which had its business operations inside the eight-hectare property owned by Baofu Land Development Inc.

The DILG said its investigation as well as the raid conducted by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) revealed that Zun Yuan was involved in various illegal activities. Despite this, the DILG said, Guo did not cancel or revoke the POGO hub’s business permit as she has business interests with Baofu.

Zun Yuan’s Baofu compound was raided last March 13 for alleged human trafficking and serious illegal detention.

The same compound was raided in February 2023 when the POGO firm was still named Hongsheng Gaming Technology Inc. over a supposed fraudulent cryptocurrency investment operation. It was renamed Zun Yuan after the raid.

Valenzuela warehouse

Guo and her family lived in a warehouse in Barangay Canumay West, Valenzuela, Mayor Weslie Gatchalian confirmed on Tuesday.

Gatchalian explained that many foreign nationals, particularly from China, start their businesses in Valenzuela due to its strategic location and industrial environment. These businesses, Gatchalian said, often begin with renting small warehouses for trading activities.

“In the case of Alice Guo, her family came from China. The parents arrived first, but we cannot establish the exact year since they are not found in Valenzuela’s database,” Gatchalian said over ANC.

“Neighbors and the landlord, a childhood friend of the Gatchalians, confirmed that Guo’s family, including Alice, lived in the warehouse,” Gatchalian said.

“The landlord confirmed that the parents and siblings, including Alice, stayed there for a couple of years before moving out,” he said, adding that the family likely relocated to Tarlac to expand their business.

“The community and landlord remember the Guo family as transient residents from China,” he said. “The family’s presence was primarily business-oriented.” Meanwhile, Senate president pro-tempore Jinggoy Estrada called on the Anti-Money Laundering Council to consider studying the possibility of issuing an order to freeze all the assets of Mayor Guo.

“In light of recent allegations and emerging evidence on Mayor Guo, it is imperative that the AMLC take decisive action to safeguard the integrity of public funds, ensure accountability and promote transparency,” said Estrada.

“Such a step will help to have a thorough investigation and find out the truth behind the left and right accusations that the local official is allegedly involved in some illegal activities, including money laundering,” Estrada added.

“This action should also prompt our authorities to thoroughly investigate the entangling web of illegal activities perpetrated in POGOs,” he said. — Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mark Ernest Villeza, Emmanuel Tupas, Elizabeth Marcelo

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