PAOCC preparing nonbailable cases vs Guo, others

PAOCC preparing nonbailable cases vs Guo, others

/ 05:36 AM June 16, 2024

PAOCC preparing nonbailable cases vs Guo, others

Bamban Mayor Alice Guo —Marianne Bermudez

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) may file as early as next week “serious, nonbailable” criminal charges against suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo and others in connection with allegedly illegal offshore gaming operations in her town.

PAOCC spokesperson Winston John Casio on Saturday said that an interagency council would meet on Tuesday to finalize the cases to be filed against Guo and the incorporators and owners of Zun Yuan Technology Inc., a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) company which was shut down after it was raided in March.


READ: Alice Guo ordered suspended as mayor of Bamban, Tarlac


“Our initial agreement was we would focus on the most serious and nonbailable charges first. Then we will follow through with the other charges later on,” Casio told a forum in Quezon City.

READ: Alice Guo: ‘I am innocent’

Suspension order

PAOCC led the raid on Zun Yuan for alleged illegal activities inside the Baofu Land Development Inc. compound behind the Bamban town hall. Guo is one of Baofu’s incorporators.

Guo has been called to a Senate inquiry into her alleged involvement with Zun Yuan and its owners.

Apart from her alleged involvement with Zun Yuan, serious questions were also raised about Guo’s true nationality, her parents, childhood and her wealth.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered Guo and two other municipal officers suspended for six months after the Department of the Interior and Local Government filed an administrative complaint against her related to her role in Zun Yuan’s operation and the development of the nearly 8-hectare Baofu compound.


Guo has appealed to the Ombudsman to lift the suspension, slamming the “erroneous accusations” against her.

Casio said Guo’s name and signatures appeared in “many documents from so many sources.”

Possible links

“So, the liability of the current mayor of Bamban is on paper. It’s not a matter of conjecture anymore, but documented,” he said, refusing to give other details of the evidence PAOCC had against her.

PAOCC is looking into possible links between Zun Yuan and Lucky South 99 Pogo company in Porac, Pampanga, which was raided and closed on June 4, Casio said.

He said the agency was also keeping a close eye on 43 “internet gaming licensees” and 15 others that were operating illegally.

The Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) had organized a town hall meeting with the licensees where PAOCC appealed to Pogo operators to ensure that the foreigners they employed had no criminal record and to not allow themselves to be used as conduits for money laundering, Casio said.

Heed China’s call

Also on Saturday, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian continued to push President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to shut down all Pogo operations, agreeing for once with China on its “appeal” to pull the plug on offshore gaming in the Philippines.

“Their statement sounds like they are begging to our country. Actually, this is the first time that I read the Chinese Embassy using the word ‘appeal,’” Gatchalian told the “Usapang Senado” program on dwIZ radio, referring to the embassy’s statement on Friday.

He said that two Cabinet members—Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Finance Secretary Ralph Recto—also supported shutting down Pogos altogether.

Several lawmakers and security officials believe that Pogos undermine national security and were being used not only in committing cybercrimes, but also in surveillance and cyberattacks against the government.

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“Pogos place both countries in a ‘lose-lose’ situation,” Gatchalian said. “We have seen in our investigation that 90 percent of the Pogos’ businesses come from China. Many families there are being destroyed due to online casinos and betting.” “Here in our country, they bring criminal syndicates behind scamming activities, human trafficking and (other crimes). So, nobody wins in this business,” he said. —with a report from Marlon Ramos


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