2 Pinoys linked to Pampanga Pogo face raps over shooting range

2 Pinoys linked to Pampanga Pogo face raps over shooting range ops

They were found inside a leisure hub where a police raiding team found an unlicensed gunnery building

HIDDEN Police discovered this indoor firing range at the back of a 2-hectare high-end leisure resort reportedly accommodating Chinese bosses in Pogo firms in Bamban, Tarlac, and Porac, Pampanga. It was initially described as a warehouse but police recovered slugs misfired on walls and frames during a raid on July 6. —TONETTE T. OREJAS

HIDDEN Police discovered this indoor firing range at the back of a 2-hectare high-end leisure resort reportedly accommodating Chinese bosses in Pogo firms in Bamban, Tarlac, and Porac, Pampanga. It was initially described as a warehouse but police recovered slugs misfired on walls and frames during a raid on July 6. —Tonette T. Orejas

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA, Philippines — The two Filipinos earlier taken into police custody when they were found inside a raided leisure resort for the Chinese executives of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) in Pampanga would be made to face charges for illegal operation of an indoor firing range.

Daniel Salcedo Jr. and Chona Alejandre, who were listed as incorporators of a company that subleased its leased land to a twice-raided Pogo operator in Porac town, Pampanga, were brought by the provincial police to the provincial prosecutors’ office for inquest proceeding on Sunday.

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However, Associate Provincial Prosecutor Alexander Lopez ruled to release Salcedo and Alejandre in the absence of sworn statements of human trafficking victims.

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READ: Pogo leisure hub in Porac has firing range, tunnel

The submission of sworn statements complied with Department of Justice Circular No. 20, according to Pampanga Prosecutor Lamberto Gonzales.

Police Col. Jay Dimaandal, Pampanga’s provincial police director, said Lopez instead recommended that Salcedo and Alejandre, whom police held for questioning following a court-approved search for suspects in the human trafficking case related to the operation of Lucky South 99 in Porac, face a case by regular filing for the illegal operation of an indoor firing range located in the raided 2-hectare high-end leisure resort on Daisy Street, Purok 6, Barangay Señora, in Porac.

The indoor firing range, which on the outside appeared like a concrete warehouse built alongside the 20-foot-high fence that enclosed the resort, was discovered when police raided the resort in search of two persons, one said to be a Chinese national, who supposedly ran Lucky South.

The executives were not in the property during the raid but police instead found Salcedo and Alejandre, who both turned out to be incorporators of Whirlwind Corp., which leases to Lucky South a 10-ha land inside the Grand Palazzo Royale in Porac.

Lucky South, which was the subject of police raids for alleged human trafficking and illegal online activities, has built 46 buildings on the site enclosed by high concrete fences since it began constructing the structures in 2019.

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Interviewed separately following the July 6 raid of the leisure property, Salcedo and Alejandre said they were “mere employees” working for Whirlwind in the past three or four years.

Electronic control

Señora Barangay Capt. Renato Pineda, who joined the raid, told authorities that he did not issue a clearance for the firing range.

The Central Luzon regional police in Camp Olivas have not issued the facility a permit, according to Dimaandal.

The walls and roof of the firing range were made of concrete, reducing the noise outside. It was built with an electronic control for pistol and rifle shooting.

According to Dimaandal, not even the Philippine National Police has such a facility.

The first subject of the search warrant, Katherine Cassandra Li Ong, was not found inside the resort at the time of the raid. Ong was listed as an incorporator of Whirlwind and is reportedly the girlfriend of the brother of Bamban Mayor Alice Guo.

Guo has been suspended following a raid in March of another Pogo company, Zuan Yuan Technology Inc., operating inside the Baofu Land Development Hub located just beside the Bamban town hall, over alleged illegal activities.

In the July 6 raid in Porac, the police found a bedroom that displayed Ong’s large portrait and contained her clothes and personal effects. Shoes that she reportedly owned filled a three-layer rack at the entrance of the main mansion within the resort.

The three women and three men found inside the resort positively identified Ong in the photos. Several certificates of employment were signed by a certain Cassy Li, the other name she reportedly uses.

Police also noted that Salcedo was monitored to be waiting to answer two Viber calls from Ong.

The second subject of the search warrant, Gheric Pagcu Manaloto, went to see Gov. Dennis Pineda on Monday to seek help to “clear” his name.

Manaloto told the governor that he sold his 2.5-ha property to Whirlwind in 2019.

He presumed that the police obtained utility bills that still bore his name.

The governor advised him to submit to the police an affidavit and a true copy of a deed of sale.

The July 6 raid by seven police units from Central Luzon and the national capital also discovered an underground tunnel connecting the mansion to a two-bedroom house built in the middle of a man-made lake.

The names of two Chinese nationals—Jing Gu and Xiang Tan—also cropped up during the investigation as they were both incorporators of Whirlwind and Lucky South, based on Securities and Exchange Commission documents submitted to the provincial legislative board that held public hearings on Lucky South’s operation in the province.

Fortress

The July 6 raiding teams found the main mansion to contain furniture, furnishings, and fixtures with Chinese brand names and characters. It has about 10 bedrooms, a dining table for 15 people with oven-topped heaters, a tea table, a spa, a salon, KTV bars, a billiard table, an entertainment center, game rooms, a large garden, a dry aquarium with a pet turtle and a helicopter pad.

Provincial Board Member Ananias Canlas Jr. called it a “well-funded structure” and a “fortress.”

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Located 2 kilometers from the main road of Porac and Angeles City, the leisure resort is some 5 km from the Lucky South Pogo hub.

TAGS: firing range, illegal POGO, Porac town

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