Guo and 2 other executives from Bamban suspended

Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac has been suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged ties to an illegal Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) in her town. The suspension, which is for six months without pay, also includes business permit and licensing officer Edwin Ocampo and municipal legal officer Adenn Sigua. This decision came after a complaint filed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government accusing Guo and other local officials of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The complaint stems from a raid conducted by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) on the Pogo compound of Zun Yuan Technology in Bamban, where a Vietnamese national employed by Zun Yuan escaped and reported serious illegal detention and human trafficking. The Ombudsman found enough evidence to suspend Guo, Ocampo, and Sigua to prevent any interference with the ongoing probe.

In response, Guo expressed sadness over the allegations, denying any links to Pogo activities in her town and claiming to have been judged unfairly before having a chance to defend herself. The Mayor is also facing additional accusations of being a Chinese agent and is under investigation for potential tax evasion charges. Despite the suspension, Vice Mayor Leonardo Anunciacion has declared readiness to assume mayoral duties during Guo’s absence.

The decision to suspend Guo has been met with approval from senators like Risa Hontiveros and Joel Villanueva, who see it as a step in the right direction. Hontiveros, in particular, has been vocal about Guo’s alleged ties to Pogos and highlighted the importance of allowing authorities to conduct an unbiased investigation without fear of interference. As the case continues to unfold, the future of Mayor Guo and the allegations against her remain uncertain.

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