Senate probe on Guo not an attack on Chinese-Filipinos — Hontiveros

Senator Risa Hontiveros standing on a podium speaking
(FILES) Senator Risa HontiverosPhoto by Dianne Bacelonia

The ongoing investigation of the Senate into the alleged link of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo to the raided Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators in her town is “not an attack on Filipinos of Chinese heritage.”

This was stressed on Monday by Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is spearheading the investigation of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, which she also chairs.

“My own maternal great-grandmother was pure Chinese. The revelations about Mayor Alice Guo came out after evidence of her complicity in POGO-related crimes. And the other evidence comes directly from his own words,” Hontiveros said.

According to the senator, a “lot of evidence” has been gathered against the POGOs in the last eight hearings that her committee had initiated.

“Among these is the proliferation of fake identification documents from PhilHealth IDs to passports,” she noted, adding that it was a proof that Chinese POGO syndicates “have managed to obtain fraudulent Filipino identities through corrupt individuals in our government agencies.”

“And what's worse is Mayor Guo; she is a public servant,” she explained.

China influence

Citing the alleged involvement of POGOs based in Bamban in hacking and surveillance activities, Hontiveros reiterated that it would be a “remiss” on the part of the Senate not to dig deeper into this issue.

“Considering China’s aggressive influence operations around the world, it would be remiss of the Senate not to look into this angle,” she said.

“Several government agencies still have more to reveal about the POGOs, which they will do in an executive session before the next public hearing,” she added.

She also stressed that the ongoing investigation of the Senate is “not a witch hunt” nor “about politics.”

“This is not about politics. This is about national security, criminal activities, accountability in public service, the rights and welfare of women and children, and the structural failure of our system to regulate POGO as a business model,” she said.


Moreover, Hontiveros also appealed to the public not to engage in discrimination, particularly among Chinese nationals living in the Philippines.

“In the midst of all this, I repeat my reminder that racism, xenophobia, and Sinophobia are never acceptable,” she said.

“Regardless of our heritage, all law-abiding citizens should not be the subject of hate and discrimination,” she added.

During the continuation of the Senate hearing last week, senators learned that Guo’s biological parents, Angelito Guo and Amelia Leal, were registered as Filipinos on her birth certificate.

Guo claimed that her father, who only visited her occasionally at the farm where she grew up, was not a Filipino but a Chinese citizen holding a Chinese passport.

It was also revealed that the embattled local chief executive also has two other siblings with her biological mother.

Guo, in an exclusive television interview, earlier claimed that she was a love child of her father with their Filipina helper, whom she said abandoned her after she was born.

Daily Tribune