DILG asked to probe mayor for links to raided Pogo

DILG asked to probe mayor for links to raided Pogo

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:05 AM March 26, 2024

Senator  Sherwin Gatchalian says a Pulse Asia survey shows most Filipinos think Pogo operations harmful to PH

FILE PHOTO: Senator Sherwin Gatchalian. Photo from Senate PRIB

A senator asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday to look into the possible connection between a Tarlac town mayor and a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) raided by authorities on March 13, over charges of alleged human trafficking and serious illegal detention.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who has been pushing for a total Pogo ban, cited official documents linking Bamban Mayor Alice Guo to Hongsheng Gaming Technology Inc., which supposedly changed its business name to Zun Yuan Technology Inc. after its facility in Anupul village was first raided by law enforcement agencies in February 2023.


Gatchalian said that in 2020, Guo—then a private citizen— asked the town council to allow Hongsheng to operate there. In 2022, she ran and won the mayoral race in Bamban as an independent candidate.


In its application for local permits, Hongsheng said it would “establish, operate and manage a business of amusement, entertainment, recreation and various forms of gaming activities, contests and exhibitions” in the town.

According to Gatchalian, in the March 13 raid, authorities led by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission found a billing statement from Tarlac II Electric Cooperative Inc. showing that Zun Yuan’s electric meter was registered under Guo’s name.

READ: Over 800 Filipinos, foreign Pogo workers rescued in Tarlac raid

“The statement of account, which appears to be an electricity bill amounting to [more than] P15 million, covers the period [of] September 2023 to February 2024,” said the senator who chairs the Senate committee on ways and means in a statement.

A sport utility vehicle with license plate CAT-6574, which was seized from the company during the raid, was also found to be registered in the mayor’s name. “These are damning pieces of evidence [showing] that Mayor Guo might be involved in the operation of this Pogo facility that is now implicated in various criminal activities,” Gatchalian said.

The Inquirer reached out to Guo for comment but she had yet to respond as of this writing. The senator, a former mayor of Valenzuela City, reminded local officials that they “should be working to prevent criminalities in their respective jurisdiction and should not involve themselves in dubious businesses such as Pogos.”


Earlier, he filed Senate Resolution No. 977 seeking a legislative inquiry into the March 13 raid on Zun Yuan’s compound that resulted in the rescue of nearly 900 Pogo workers, including 427 Chinese, 57 Vietnamese, eight Malaysians, three Taiwanese, two Indonesians and two Rwandans.

The operation was based on a complaint filed by a Vietnamese, who escaped from the Pogo facility after allegedly being tortured by his superiors. —with a report from tina g. santos INQ

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TAGS: pogo, Sherwin Gatchalian, Tarlac

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