Guo skipping senate hearing; Hontiveros warns of arrest
‘TRAUMATIZED’

Guo skipping Senate hearing; Hontiveros warns of arrest

Alice Guo —PHOTO FROMGUO’SFACEBOOK PAGE Risa Hontiveros —SENATE PRIB

Suspended Bamban Mayor Alice Guo —photo from Guo’s Facebook page—Sen. Risa Hontiveros —Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday warned Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac province, that she risks being arrested after her lawyer sent notice that the suspended local official would again skip the ongoing Senate inquiry into the illegal Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) hub in her town.

“If she doesn’t honor the subpoena, the Senate is well within its rights to issue an arrest order [against her],” Hontiveros warned the mayor. “She should just attend the hearing on Wednesday without any drama.”

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READ: ‘Sick, stressed’ Alice Guo skips Senate panel’s Pogo probe

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She advised Guo that telling the truth about her supposed involvement in Pogo activities “will give you peace of mind.”

Last week, the senator issued separate summonses requiring Guo and her three siblings—Sheila, Seimen and Wesley—to attend the July 10 hearing of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, which she chairs.

Their supposed parents, Chinese nationals Jian Zhong Guo and Lin Wenyi, were also directed to appear at the resumption of the Senate probe.

Hontiveros likewise issued a separate subpoena against Katherine Cassandra Li Ong, one of Guo’s business partners.

The separate subpoenas were received by one of Guo’s lawyers, Nicole Jamilla, on July 5.

Stress level

Lawyer Stephen David, the embattled mayor’s lead counsel, said his client had already informed him that she would not attend the Senate proceedings on Wednesday.

According to David, the mayor was still “traumatized” after participating in the first two hearings on the raided Pogo complex of Zun Yuan Technology Inc. in Bamban.

“Just think of the numerous allegations thrown at her. She was even being yelled at [during the Senate hearing],” the lawyer said in an interview with radio dzBB.

“Her stress level was too high that she’s already traumatized whenever she hears about the hearing,” he added.

But Hontiveros said Guo should have thought about the consequences of her decision to spew lies in her two previous appearances before the Senate panel.

She and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian had presented government records allegedly showing Guo, whom they suspected to be a Chinese national, had lied about her background by, among others, illegally acquiring Filipino citizenship.

According to Hontiveros, Filipinos have been “traumatized” that a Chinese national was able to win as town mayor in the Philippines.

The victims of human trafficking, forced labor and other crimes related to Pogos had also suffered tremendously, she said.

“Mental health is important, but she cannot invoke it to escape accountability since she’s a public servant. She dug her own grave,” Hontiveros said of Guo.

“We merely asked basic questions that any upright human being could answer. Now that she has been exposed, she’s playing the victim card,” she stressed.

Election offenses

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), for its part, has finally started its inquiry on the possible filing of a string of election offenses Guo might have committed in her candidacy during the 2022 elections.

In a memorandum dated July 6 but was made public only on Monday, Comelec Chair George Erwin Garcia directed its law department, headed by director Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal, to create a fact-finding committee “in view of public interest in the controversy surrounding [Guo].”

“The committee shall determine whether there was material misrepresentation in her certificate of candidacy which would warrant the filing of an election offense case,” Garcia said.

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The poll body chief asked its legal office to coordinate with agencies that were already conducting their investigation on Guo, particularly the National Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Solicitor General, and Hontiveros’ Senate committee, “to seek relevant pieces of information.”

The office was also ordered to “conduct technical analysis of documents containing fingerprints of registered voters which bear the name Alice Guo, to determine her culpability, if any, and recommend to the commission en banc the filing of a case if evidence warrants.”

TAGS: Alice Guo, Bamban, illegal POGO, Risa Hontiveros, Senate inquiry

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