Philippines: DILG calls for preventive suspension for Bamban mayor amid POGO probe

Philippines: DILG calls for preventive suspension for Bamban mayor amid POGO probe

The department highlighted “troubling findings” linked to illegal gambling operations.

The Philippines.- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has recommended that the Office of the Ombudsman place Bamban mayor Alice Guo on preventive suspension due to an alleged link to an offshore gambling operator’s illegal activities.

The DILG created a task force, headed by Benjamin Zabala of the Department’s Internal Audit Service, on April 5. DILG secretary Benhur Abalos said it had found “troubling findings of serious illegal acts which may have severe legal implications.” Guo was allegedly linked to offshore gaming operator Zun Yuan Technology, which was raided following complaints of human trafficking and illegal detention.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who led a Senate investigation into POGO-related crimes, said documents obtained by his office raise suspicions of Guo’s involvement. A Sangguniang Bayan Resolution from September 2020 approved Guo’s application for a licence to operate Hongsheng Gaming Technology. Meanwhile, a list of vehicles discovered at the premises of Zun Yuan included one registered under Guo’s name.

Guo’s identity was questioned as she claimed in a Senate hearing that she forgot personal details like her place of birth and the name of the school she attended. It stated on Guo’s birth certificate that her father was Filipino, but he declared himself to be a Chinese citizen in his business records. Guo registered to vote in 2021 and won the Bamban mayoral election in 2022 despite having no prior political experience.

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illegal gambling