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“POGO Mayor” can seek reelection despite preventive suspension: election commission

Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo, known as the “POGO Mayor“, can run for reelection in next year’s midterm elections despite facing a pending preventive suspension, the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Thursday.

“When a local official is suspended, it does not constitute a final conviction or judgment in a case. In the meantime, she can still run,” said Comelec Chairperson George Erwin Garcia in an interview.

According to the Philippine News Agency, Garcia emphasized that any additional charges brought against Guo are a separate issue.

“Of course, we are not discussing other cases that may be filed against her. We don’t want to preempt any potential cases against her. Our stance is that, if necessary, we will accept her Certificate of Candidacy,” he stated.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) previously requested the Office of the Ombudsman to impose a preventive suspension on Guo to halt her from potentially influencing the investigation into her identity and potential connections to a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) in her municipality, which had been subjected to law enforcement raids.

In response, the Office of the Solicitor General has established a dedicated team to scrutinize Guo’s citizenship and ascertain if she is unlawfully holding or exercising a public office. 

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra stated that, once evidence supports this assertion, they would initiate quo warranto (legal action to establish what authority there is to hold office) proceedings to remove the individual in question.

According to the Omnibus Election Code, individuals declared insane or incompetent, or those convicted by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or offenses with a penalty exceeding 18 months or involving moral turpitude, are disqualified from candidacy.

Guo is suspected of lying about her background, with recent Senate hearings even calling into question whether she could potentially be a Chinese asset, having purportedly obtained citizenship improperly. Senator Risa Hontiveros, on Tuesday, claimed that Guo had ties to criminals, including multiple foreign nationals allegedly involved in the multi-billion-dollar money laundering case in Singapore.

Hontiveros asserted that Guo lacks proper records in the Philippines, while several individuals listed as incorporators in Guo’s Baofu Land Development company were implicated in the Singapore case.

Authorities are investigating the claims.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chanhttps://agbrief.com/
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.

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