Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomeNewsPhilippinesPhilippines Ombudsman suspends "POGO Mayor" Alice Guo

Philippines Ombudsman suspends “POGO Mayor” Alice Guo

The Office of the Ombudsman in the Philippines has ordered the preventive suspension of Bamban, Tarlac “POGO Mayor” Alice Guo.

The order, rooted in a recommendation by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), reflects the gravity of the accusations against Guo. Ombudsman Samuel Martires emphasized the necessity of preventive suspension, citing “sufficient grounds” warranting such action.

This move extends beyond Mayor Guo; it also encompasses two other local officials, Edwin Ocampo and Adenn Sigua, both subject to similar suspensions pending the outcome of investigations. Charges including grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and gross neglect of duty have been levied against them, underscoring the seriousness of the allegations.

The origin of this controversy lies in the discovery of an illegal Philippine offshore gaming operation concealed within the Baufo Land Development Corporation compound in Bamban. A raid in March uncovered a scheme exploiting hundreds of workers, with authorities dismantling the operation and rescuing those ensnared in its grasp.

Further scrutiny revealed Mayor Guo’s alleged involvement, with authorities tracing land acquisitions and financial transactions purportedly tied to the illicit enterprise. Despite prior regulatory actions against the POGO operation, Guo purportedly maintained her support, raising questions about her motivations and interests.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, a vocal critic of such operations, hailed the Ombudsman’s decision, echoing calls for accountability and justice. Hontiveros stressed the documented connections between Mayor Guo and the POGO, emphasizing the broader implications of such activities on national security and public welfare.

In response, Guo’s legal counsel, Alex Avisado Jr., expressed readiness to address the allegations through legal channels, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based proceedings over public spectacle. While disputing the preventive suspension order, Avisado affirmed their intention to address the accusations promptly upon receipt of the formal complaint.

The unfolding saga in Bamban underscores the complexities and challenges inherent in combating illicit activities, underscoring the role of accountability and transparency in upholding the rule of law. As investigations progress, the quest for truth and justice remains paramount, shaping the contours of governance and public trust in the process.

Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel is an online gambling industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in Europe and Asia. Equally at home in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, he started his career as a sports trader before setting up and running whole operations, and more recently focusing on the regulatory and licensing side of things in the worlds of fiat and crypto eGaming. When he is not writing about gambling topics, he can be found cycling around Manila and advocating sustainable transport solutions for a Philippines based mobility magazine.

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