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HomeNewsPhilippinesPhilippine Senator accuses “POGO Mayor” of ties to criminality

Philippine Senator accuses “POGO Mayor” of ties to criminality

The case of “POGO Mayor” Alice Guo continues to grip the headlines in the Philippines, with accusations of criminality being voiced by one Senator.

Following a Senate hearing, representative Risa Hontiveros has voiced allegations linking Bamban, Tarlac, Mayor Alice Guo to criminal activities, pointing to what she calls numerous red flags regarding her background.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, Philippines
Senator Risa Hontiveros

In her statement, Senator Hontiveros claimed that documents submitted by Guo’s company, Baofu Land Development, to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2019 listed incorporators including Mayor Guo, Filipino national Rachel Joan Malonzo Carreon, Cypriot national Zhiyang Huang, Chinese national Zhang Ruijin, and Dominican national Baoying Lin.

Hontiveros highlighted that in April, Ruijin was convicted for involvement in Singapore’s largest money laundering case, while Lin also faced charges related to the same case.

“Mayor Alice Guo has numerous red flags. Lacking proper records in the Philippines and having connections with criminals raises questions. Is this how she funds her luxurious lifestyle, purchasing a helicopter and luxury cars with money from criminals and fugitives?” Hontiveros questioned.

Philippine Senator accuses “POGO Mayor” of ties to criminality

The Senator also supported the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) decision to strip Guo of her authority over the local police in Bamban, due to her alleged criminal connections. “The mayor should not have access to the police if she is a protector of criminals,” the Akbayan Party affiliated politician asserted.

The decision is still being debated by authorities, with Guo still maintaining her deputization.

During a previous Senate hearing, Guo admitted that “her friends” assisted her campaign for the 2022 elections, prompting Hontiveros to question if these friends were the same criminals she is allegedly connected to. Despite Guo’s claims that she had divested from Baofu before her political run, Hontiveros emphasized that her ties to these individuals remain problematic.

“Did she run for mayor to protect her friends? I look forward to our hearing on Wednesday (May 22nd). I hope the Mayor remembers something.”

Senator Risa Hontiveros

Additionally, The Strait Times reported that Baoying Lin, implicated in the ‘$3 billion money laundering case’, faces new charges including the use of forged documents and possession of criminal proceeds, bringing the total to ten charges in Singapore.

Channel News Asia also reported that Zhang Ruijin holds $41 million in overseas assets, including shares in a Philippine real estate development company.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) stated they are coordinating with other law enforcement agencies to verify Hontiveros’ allegations against Guo.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo mentioned during a briefing that they are investigating the local police’s accountability for failing to detect illegal activities at the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) Zun Yuan Technology Incorporated, located very close to the Bamban municipal hall. The POGO hub, allegedly linked to Guo, was raided on March 13th.

“We also have to reiterate that the granting of permits is outside the authority of the territorial police, and we know that the POGO business in Bamban was licensed by PAGCOR and their local business permits were issued by the concerned local chief executives,” Fajardo indicated.

Philippine Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has indicated to AGB that the Tarlac compound had a PAGCOR office on the premises, questioning how the authorities were not quicker to catch onto the illegal activities.

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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