Mayor Alice Guo, 13 others charged with qualified trafficking in person

Mayor Alice Guo, 13 others charged with qualified trafficking in person

THE PAOCC and PNP-CIDG file a human trafficking complaint against suspended Mayor Alice Guo over her alleged connection to the illegal POGO in Bamban, Tarlac.

In March, the PNP-CIDG and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) raided Zun Yuan Technology, a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator or POGO hub in Bamban, Tarlac, for reported illegal operations.

This led to the filing of human trafficking charges against 14 individuals, including Suspended Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, this Friday morning at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

DOJ Usec. Nicholas Ty stated there may be multiple evidence supporting the complaint, highlighting Guo’s connection to the illegal POGO through various documents.

“This is not just a piece of evidence, but multiple pieces of evidence that can be collectively considered as circumstantial evidence to show probable cause for charging them.”

“When the evidence came out, such as the fact that she was the one who applied at the former POGO, the former LONO from the local government.”

“It also revealed her involvement in the Lessor company, along with other evidence, such as her name appearing on the alleged documents found in the POGO Compounds,” stated Usec. Nicholas Ty, Department of Justice.

According to Ty, they will process the issuance of a Lookout Bulletin Order for Guo, adding that they expect the Justice Secretary to sign it next week.

He expressed hope that Guo has no plans to leave the Philippines despite the complaint filed against her.

“As for Mayor Guo, hopefully, she won’t flee because she herself, along with her representatives, has stated her intention to face the allegations against her. Moreover, as a public official, she cannot simply travel without a travel authority. Our ILBO, which prosecutors apply like a safeguard, may not even be necessary,” added Ty.

Aside from Guo, several Chinese officials from illegal POGO hubs Hongsheng Gaming Technology and ZunYuan Technology, Inc., and Baofu Corporation, along with former government official Dennis Cunanan, have been charged with qualified trafficking in persons.

Cunanan, formerly the deputy director general of the dissolved Technology and Livelihood Resource Center, was previously convicted in the pork barrel scam.

According to Deputy City Prosecutor Benjamin Samson, they have found evidence linking Cunanan to the conspiracy with his co-respondents based on documents obtained from the illegal POGO hub in Bamban.

“These thirteen individuals are officers and incorporators of three companies. There are also other private individuals whom we believe and have strong evidence linking them to the conspiracy to commit qualified trafficking in persons,” stated Benjamin Samson, Deputy Senior Prosecutor.

Qualified human trafficking is non-bailable.

Usec. Ty meanwhile insisted that the complaints filed against the respondents will undergo due process at the DOJ.

“This will undergo a preliminary investigation where respondents, including Mayor Guo, will be given the opportunity to present their side. It’s not yet in court; it’s still in process. We don’t want to preempt our prosecutors who who will independently conduct the preliminary investigation,” said Ty.

Mayor Alice Guo denounces allegations, cites lack of substantial evidence

Meanwhile, in a statement, Mayor Guo denied the accusations, asserting that she has no connection to any POGO hub in the country.

Although she has not yet received a copy of the official complaint, Mayor Guo remains confident that the evidence is insufficient to implicate her in the allegations.

She noted that the allegations seem to have surfaced before the presentation of evidence.

“Since the day of the raid on March 13 until now, there has been a concerted effort to unjustly link me to the case. If concrete evidence existed, charges would have been filed against me much earlier,” according to Alice Guo, Suspended Bamban Mayor.

“Having connections to companies or individuals, especially when vague, is not enough to link someone to a case, particularly one involving Human Trafficking,” added Guo.

She also said she is ready to face any complaint against her.

Meanwhile, according to PAOCC Executive Director Usec. Gilbert Cruz, they are also preparing additional complaints to file against Guo and other co-accused related to the illegal POGO hub.

PAOCC also said that their crackdown against other illegal POGOs, continues.

He added that four LGUs have already called and are willing to cooperate with them.

“Our local government units have visited us and called us. They are seeking the help of the interagency task force, PAOCC, to assist them in identifying areas because there are suspected illegal POGO hubs being reported. Perhaps they see— we are not saying it’s like we are issuing a warning to the local government officials, but they feel it is their responsibility within their jurisdiction, so they are coordinating now,” stated Usec. Gilbert Cruz, Executive Director, PAOCC.

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