Mayor Guo, 13 others face human trafficking complaint

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Mayor Guo, 13 others face human trafficking complaint
Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo in this May 7, 2024.
Facebook / Sen. Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines — A criminal complaint for qualified human trafficking has been filed against suspended mayor Alice Guo and 13 others, over their alleged involvement in the operation of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) hub in Bamban, Tarlac that was raided last March.

The complaint was filed by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group before the Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday.

Also charged in the complaint were former Technology and Resource Center deputy director general Dennis Cunanan and other corporate officers of the Zun Yuan Technology Center.

“What was filed today is still only a complaint. It will still go through a process in the DOJ. It will still undergo a preliminary investigation, wherein the respondents, including Mayor Alice Guo, will be allowed to state their side,” Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking Undersecretary-in-charge Nicholas Ty said at a press conference.

“The complaint is not yet in court. This will still undergo a process, and we don’t want to get ahead of the prosecutors, who will independently conduct their preliminary investigation,” he noted.

Following the filing of the complaint, Ty said the DOJ is now in the process of filing a request for an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO).

“Since the complaint has been filed, we are already processing the ILBO. This will just go through the internal process of the DOJ. But, hopefully, by next week, the secretary could sign the ILBO,” Ty added.

An ILBO “directs all immigration officers to closely report to the DOJ and the National Bureau of Investigation any attempt by the subjects to leave the country.”

Guo denounces allegations

In a statement released yesterday, Guo denounced the allegations and asserted that “mere connections to companies or individuals do not suffice as grounds for labeling someone a conspirator.”

“Having connections to companies or individuals, especially when vague, is not enough to link someone to a case, particularly one involving human trafficking,” she said.

Guo reiterated that she has no involvement in or participation with Zun Yuan Technology Inc. or any other POGO in the country.

She also expressed confidence that there is insufficient evidence to implicate her in the allegations.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier placed Guo and two other officials of Bamban under preventive suspension following the administrative complaint filed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The DILG earlier filed an administrative complaint against Guo and the two other officials for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Ban all POGOs

In Pampanga, Vice Governor Lilia Pineda wants to ban all POGOs in the province.

Pineda and provincial board members yesterday conducted their second committee hearing on the reportedly illegal POGO in the town of Porac.

The raid of a POGO operation in Porac resulted in the arrest of foreigners.

Earlier, Gov. Dennis Pineda issued a memo to all mayors and police in the province. He also asked all the province’s barangay captains to report any unusual influx of foreigners in their jurisdiction.


The DOJ has joined forces with the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) to fast-track the deportation of Chinese nationals held in immigration detention facilities in the Philippines.

The DOJ and the FFCCCII signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which obligates the justice department to comply with strict procedural compliance for the return of detained Chinese nationals to China.

In turn, FFCCCII pledges to assist the deportation by arranging air transport once the DOJ clears the individuals for deportation.

Justice Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres hailed the MOU as a game-changer in easing overcrowded immigration detention centers and expediting the removal of undesirable aliens.

He also said the initiative “contributes to the strengthening of ties between Filipinos and Chinese in the Philippines, and serves as a testament to the organization’s involvement not only with economic but also with the socio-civic matters of our nation.”


The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is eyeing criminal complaints against the people behind the illegal Lucky South 99 POGO hub for abandoning their pets in Porac, Pampanga.

PAWS said it is building up a case of pet abandonment under Republic Act 8485, or the Animal Welfare Act, against the personalities behind the POGO hub after 13 dogs and one cat were left behind at its compound.

According to the animal rights group, the pets were left in dire conditions, tied up, caged and locked in empty rooms without food or water.

“Many were found with conditions suggesting prior sicknesses or signs of long-term neglect as well, beyond just the malnourishment caused by being abandoned for days,” it said in a statement.

PAWS appealed to the public for donations to aid the animals in their recovery. — Daphne Galvez, Ric Sapnu, Emmanuel Tupas

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