July 18, 2024

The enigma surrounding the true identity and nationality of Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac, who is now at the center of controversy in the Senate inquiry, has moved concerned agencies led by the Office of the Solicitor General to ensure the integrity of public office across the country.
While Baguio is 155 kilometers away from the seat of power in Bamban, Cordillerans in particular, or Filipinos in general, have a stake in this public issue as it is an affront to our democracy and political accountability.
It is hoped that the outcome of the supposed parallel investigations by the Office of the Ombudsman, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the OSG will correct lapses, if any, that may have led to Guo’s installation to power which is now in question due to doubts as to her true identity.
But what triggered the Senate inquiry was the fear that Guo may be tied to an illegal operation of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGOs) following a raid on a POGO firm in March.
There appears to be lapses on the part of the Commission on Elections in the verification of documents submitted by Guo, who has neither any hospital record of birth nor of school records in the Philippines.
But it is not too late, as Comelec can file charges for false declarations in Guo’s COC, which could result in severe penalties including disqualification from office.
Likewise, if Guo is found ineligible to hold public office, the OSG can initiate quo warranto proceedings, which could unseat the mayor.
With aspirants for senatorial to councilor seats about to file their certificates of candidacy in October, we call on Filipino voters to be vigilant in checking the qualifications and personal details of the aspirants.
Details to be scrutinized should include true name, age, citizenship, voter registration, literacy, and time span of residency in an area where they plan to run for office which should be at least one year.
Aside from her personal details, the supposed ties of Guo with POGOs is alarming, especially when one senator alleged the mayor to be a possible Chinese asset trying to infiltrate the government and that her rumored live-in partner, allegedly a public official, could be a protector of POGOs engaged in illegal activities to include crypto and love scams.
Guo’s inconsistency in her statements in the Senate inquiry is likewise a huge challenge to our intelligence department, as whoever is behind the supposed efforts to use the politician for the purpose of infiltrating the government is making a mockery of our democracy.
The mayor’s use of a luxury sports car and a helicopter she admitted she once owned runs contrary to her claim that she is living a simple life as a lowly pro-binsyana.
The luxury car and chopper alone make Guo more than P50 million richer among all mayors in Tarlac. But the controversial mayor has denied owning the luxury car, a McLaren 620R, but admitted once owning a chopper for five years before allegedly selling it.
We commend the senators for being relentless in their pursuit for truth and justice, especially when the subject of the ongoing Senate inquiry has either denied the allegations hurled against her, or has claimed to have forgotten her past.
It is but right for the government and its agents, including our public servants, to remain vigilant against possible infiltration of alleged Chinese assets, given that the Philippines is not giving up its sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
The controversy surrounding Guo’s identity and her connections highlights critical issues in electoral integrity and the importance of transparency and accountability in public office.
Filipinos are hopeful the truth shall prevail in the ongoing investigations, which will be pivotal in addressing these concerns and ensuring that public trust is upheld.