June 14, 2024

Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo must be having nightmares over the ongoing Senate investigation involving the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) operating within her municipality.
What started as an inquiry into the alleged illegal gambling business has morphed into a personal tirade against her and her family.
Guo was invited to the Senate as a resource person. Her acceptance of the invitation is a measure of courtesy so that she could share significant information that may lead to the crafting of laws. She is there in aid of legislation.
Her presence is supposed to merely shed light on the possible collusion between the POGO and some overstaying Chinese nationals in the country thereby allowing our amiable Senators the chance to elicit facts and circumstances that may lead to the formulation of laws regulating or preventing similar acts from being consummated in the future.
Poor Guo. She fell into a Senate trap. She was stripped of her dignity and was ridiculed to the barest detail of her personality. She was portrayed as an individual with a past that is dubious and vague. Her love-life was scattered with uncertainty and her parents were doubted to be non-existent individuals. She was branded as a Chinese spy. Although she is an elected mayor, she is being recommended for suspension. For what? If ever there is a classic example of denial of due process, this must be it.
We must remember that Guo is not an accused. At this point, perhaps, she’d rather be one. At least, as an accused, she can confront her accusers fairly and judiciously. She can be protected by a lawyer who can object to any and all questions that are leading, misleading, damning, incriminating or downright degrading.
Ironically, she remains a resource person who is at the mercy of the senators. She must answer according to their whims and caprices lest she be cited for contempt. She must respond to all kinds of questions no matter how stupid, inane, or insignificant these may be. She must reply to all queries whether personal or not. She must be overly cute at the same time brutally honest because if not, they will brand her as an outright liar.
In a way, the Senate investigation had steered away from the main purpose why it is being conducted. It had turned into a zarzuela involving the interesting and colorful life of a controversial mayor. Can’t blame the senators.
A compelling tale such as that of Guo who, at the age of 36, owned a helicopter, a sports car, and a slew of other high-end properties despite the fact that she grew up on a farm, was self-educated, has a shady father an unknown mother, an unidentifiable boyfriend and no known friends, is a perfect platform that can easily draw attention in aid of election.
Not that she should condone the activities of Guo, if indeed, she did something illegal. Nonetheless, the Senate is not the proper forum to dissect and expose her. If she is an imposter and a spy, her citizenship is a matter of judicial question for the courts to resolve.
If she is engaged in illegal activities by her association with the POGOs, let the Department of Justice take the cudgels and file the appropriate criminal and administrative charges against her. If she is an illegal alien, let the Department of Foreign Affairs detain and deport her.
None of the other government agencies are lifting a finger against the various issues involving the mayor. If not for the Senate investigation, she will be at peace with her constituents. She will be living her life normally with not much ado about her existence and family.
At any rate, the presumption of the law must be extended to her. For all intents and purposes, since she has a birth certificate, she is presumed to be a Filipino. As an elected mayor, she must be granted all the benefits and privileges accorded to a public official in the same manner the senators investigating her are.
Guo is already over-exposed. If she did something wrong, let her face the bar of justice through the proper channels and not through a Senate investigation that is turning out to be a playground of the senators where they can manipulate, threaten, and malign their guests with gusto.