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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Senate vetting witnesses vs. Mayor Guo

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian revealed that authorities are rigorously vetting witnesses to substantiate the alleged involvement of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo in the recently raided POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator) operations in her turf.

In a radio interview on DWIZ, Gatchalian underscored the importance of having solid evidence. “It’s difficult to accept those who want to testify, but without evidence or with a weak basis. So, we are vetting if these people have indeed concrete evidence,” he stated.

Gatchalian pointed out inconsistencies in Guo’s testimony during a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros.

He said her statements contradicted pieces of documentary evidence gathered against her. Gatchalian said the paper trails indicated she was very much involved in the establishment of a POGO hub in Bamban and its operations.

Before her tenure as mayor, Guo was the signatory on all applications for Hong Sheng Gaming Technology, Inc., the first POGO company on her property, linked to alleged cryptocurrency investment scams.

Additionally, Guo signed all papers for Baofu Land, the company owning the POGO hub buildings. Although she admitted to owning 50 percent of Baofu Land Development Inc., which leased its 7.9-hectare property to POGOs, Guo claimed to have divested her shares before her 2022 mayoral run.

However, Gatchalian pointed out that Guo’s name still appears on applications for the POGO hub with the Tarlac Electric II Cooperative, Inc. (TARELCO 2) for its electricity services. Several vehicles on the site were also registered in her name.

Gatchalian criticized Guo for her alleged ignorance of human trafficking activities near the municipal hall. “You can see this POGO hub every day. Mayor Guo can’t say she didn’t know what was happening within her territory,” he argued.

While other government agencies have launched investigations into Mayor Guo, Gatchalian clarified that the Senate probe focuses specifically on POGO operations and Guo’s alleged involvement.

The investigation aims to uncover the full extent of her connection to the raided POGO hub and hold accountable those responsible for any illegal activities.

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