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Mayor Guo appeals to lift suspension over POGO allegations

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Mayor Alice Guo asked the Office of the Ombudsman to lift her six-month preventive suspension over her alleged link to a Philippine offshore gaming operation (POGO) hub in Bamban, Tarlac.

In her 31-page motion for reconsideration, Guo argued that the conditions for her preventive suspension are not present in the case against her and that contrary to assertions of the Ombudsman and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the evidence of her guilt “is not strong.”

The mayor also asserted there was no substantial evidence to prove all elements of the charges against her: grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

“It is most respectfully submitted that none of the above-mentioned elements of the administrative charges are present in the instant case. All of the acts complained of, albeit extremely distorted and exaggerated, are done within the bounds of law and as part of the sworn duty of respondent Guo as the local chief executive of her municipality,” the motion read.

“The evidence against respondent Guo does not rest on substantial evidence considering that the allegations in the complaint have no basis either in fact and in law, based on mere surmises, speculations, opinions, and questionable findings without the required quantum of evidence,” it added.

The Ombudsman ordered on May 31 the preventive suspension of Guo, Ocampo and Sigua citing “strong evidence showing their guilt.”

The complaint was based on findings of a task force created by the DILG to investigate the culpability of local officials in abetting POGO firm Zun Yuan Technology Inc.’s illegal activities in Bamban.

Zun Yuan’s Baofu compound was raided in March for alleged human trafficking and serious illegal detention.

The same compound was raided in 2023 when the POGO hub was still called Hongsheng. It was renamed Zun Yuan after the raid.

Based on the task force’s investigation, Guo’s divestment of her shares in Baofu through a deed of assignment “is simulated” as the P2.5 million involved did not appear to be commensurate to the amount of her investment in the