By Marita Moaje

MAYOR’S TIES. Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo attends the inspection of the Airport to New Clark City Access Road in Pampanga on Feb. 20, 2024. Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday (May 21, 2024) said Securities and Exchange Commission documents showed Guo’s firm includes incorporators found to have a criminal record. (Photo grabbed from Mayor Alice Leal Guo Facebook page)

MANILA – Senator Risa Hontiveros revealed on Tuesday that Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo has ties with criminals, aside from the many red flags on her persona.

In a statement, Hontiveros said documents submitted by Guo’s company Baofu Land Development, Inc. to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2019 showed that its incorporators included the mayor as well as Filipino national Rachel Joan Malonzo Carreon, Cypriot national Zhiyang Huang, Chinese national Zhang Ruijin, and Dominican national Baoying Lin.

Hontiveros said that in April, one of its incorporators, Ruijin, was convicted over links to the reported “largest money laundering case in Singapore,” while Lin also faced charges in the same case.

“Ang daming red flag ni Mayor Alice Guo. Wala na ngang maayos na record sa Pilipinas, may mga koneksyon pa sa mga kriminal. Is this why she is able to afford her lavish lifestyle? Galing ba sa mga kriminal at pugante ang pambili niya ng chopper at mga luxury cars? (Mayor Alice Guo has so many red flags. She doesn’t even have proper records in the Philippines and now she has connections with criminals? Is this why she is able to afford her lavish lifestyle? Did she buy her chopper and luxury cars with money from these criminals and fugitives?),” Hontiveros asked.

The senator also welcomed the move of the Department of Interior and Local Government to remove Guo’s power over the local police in Bamban, given her connections with criminals.

“Dapat wala nang access si Mayor sa ating kapulisan kung siya pala ay protektor din ng mga kriminal (The mayor should not have access to the police if she is a protector of criminals),” Hontiveros said.

The senator added that Guo had admitted during a previous Senate hearing that “her friends” helped her run for the 2022 elections, which made Hontiveros ask if these friends were the same criminals that helped her.

Hontiveros explained that despite claims by Guo that she had divested from Baofu before she ran for public office in 2022, the fact that she has ties with these persons remains.

“Kaya ba siya tumakbong mayor para maprotektahan niya ang mga kaibigan niya? I am looking forward to our hearing on Wednesday. Sana naman may maalala na si Mayor (Is that why she ran for mayor to protect her friends? I am looking forward to our hearing on Wednesday. I hope the Mayor remembers something ),” Hontiveros said.

The Strait Times reported on Tuesday that Lin, a co-accused in the “$3 billion money laundering case” was accused of seven new charges that include using “forged documents and possessing benefits of criminal conduct.”

She now faces 10 charges in Singapore.

A report by Channel News Asia, meanwhile, said that Zhang Ruijin has “$41 million in assets overseas, including shareholdings in a Philippine real estate development company.”

Under verification

The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, said it is closely coordinating with other law enforcement agencies regarding Hontiveros’ claim against Guo.

In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Tuesday, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said they are also looking at the accountability of the local police over its failure to detect illegal activities of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) Zun Yuan Technology Incorporated (ZYTI), which is near the Bamban municipal hall.

Guo has alleged links with the POGO hub, which was raided by law enforcers on March 13.

“But we also have to reiterate na ‘yung pagbibigay ng (the grant of) permit is outside of the ambit of authority of the territorial police at alam natin na ito pong (and we know that the) POGO business in Bamban was given a license to operate by the PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) and ‘yung kanilang mga (and their) local business permits were issued by the concerned local chief executives,” Fajardo added. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)