Philippine anti-crime commission rejects POGO-linked mayor as state witness  

Jenny Ortiz 2 weeks ago
Philippine anti-crime commission rejects POGO-linked mayor as state witness  

The Philippines’ Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) has dismissed the possibility of making Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo a state witness.   

According to the report of the state media Philippine News agency, PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio stated that this would only be considered if Guo could implicate someone more culpable than herself. Casio believes Guo is not the least guilty among the suspects in the human trafficking investigation, describing her as the highest-ranking individual involved.  

Guo is implicated in illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) activities. Last month, the PAOCC and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed human trafficking charges against her and others following a raid at a POGO hub in Bamban, a town in central Luzon. Guo remains in the Philippines, and the PAOCC is also investigating possible leaks of raid information.  

Guo’s position and the evidence  

Casio explained that for someone to be a state witness, they must be the least guilty in the crime’s conspiracy. If future evidence suggests she is the least guilty, her role as a state witness could be reconsidered. Casio clarified that any recommendation regarding Guo’s status would ultimately be evaluated by prosecutors, not the PAOCC.   

The David & Jamilla Law Offices, representing Guo, clarified that they do not represent other individuals accused of illegal POGO operations. Senator Risa Hontiveros, advocating for a POGO ban, is at the forefront of the Senate investigation into the raided POGO hub. Documents suggest Guo’s direct involvement in POGO operations and possible connections to a criminal syndicate led by Chinese nationals.  

Guo’s citizenship has come under scrutiny due to inconsistencies in her statements and questionable documents regarding her Filipino citizenship. Despite these issues, she denies any involvement in illegal POGO activities and asserts her Filipino citizenship.  

Ex-government official lobbied for illegal POGOs  

Last week, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) disclosed that a former high-ranking government official tried to obtain gaming licenses for illegal POGOs that were recently raided. PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco said the official’s involvement will be revealed in an appropriate forum.  

In June, Tengco also emphasised that the real threat is the alien hacking and scam syndicates that operate underground and not the legitimate offshore gaming operators. He highlighted that legitimate Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs) significantly contribute to the government’s revenues.    

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