Accused Of Being A Chinese Spy, Philippine Small-Town Mayor Under Suspicion Over Vague Answers

A small town in the Philippines has come into the limelight after its young mayor was accused of being a Chinese agent. The 35-year-old mayor of a town called Bamban, north of the capital Manila, was accused of being a Chinese spy after she testified at a recent Senate hearing and gave vague responses.
Philippine Small Town Mayor Gets Accused Of Being A Chinese Spy

Philippine Small Town Mayor Gets Accused Of Being A Chinese Spy (Image Source: Social Media)

A small town in the Philippines has come into the limelight after its young mayor was accused of being a Chinese agent. The 35-year-old mayor of a town called Bamban, north of the capital Manila, was accused of being a Chinese spy after she testified at a recent Senate hearing. Her answers raised suspicions, with many, including the President of the country, raising concerns over her background and activities.
The mayor, Alice Guo, speaks Tagalog with no accent, and is known to wear pink in public, according to a report.
Law enforcement personnel had recently discovered that an online casino in her town, known as Pogo, was in fact a front for a scam centre, the report by BBC said. 700 workers, including 202 Chinese nationals, were rescued by authorities after they were forced to pose as online lovers.
Pogo, which stands for Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator, has clients in China. It came under scrutiny recently after it was discovered that some of its centres were being used as fronts for human trafficking and online scam operations.
Guo used to own half of the land where Pogo had set up its local centre. She claimed to have sold the property before she ran for mayor two years ago. She was also found to own a helicopter and a Ford Expedition but claimed she had sold these a long time ago.

Vague Replies Put Her Under Suspicion

Based on her vague replies to the questions posed in the Senate, Guo was asked whether she was an "asset" of China,
"No one knows her. We wonder where she came from, that's why we are investigating this, together with the Bureau of Immigration, because of the questions about her citizenship," Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.
Not much is known about Guo's background, which is unusual for a small town in rural Philippines. Guo admitted to registering her birth certificate only when she turned 17. She claims this because she was birthed at home and not in a hospital or clinic. She could not give details of her home-schooling, naming only one of her teachers. She also claimed her father is Filipino while business records identified him as a Chinese citizen.
"I am most alarmed at how opaque may Guo's answers have been, especially her background," Ms Hontiveros, who questioned Guo about her birth and education records, said.
According to Manila-based GMA News, Guo, in a 2022 campaign speech, said, "I am Alice Guo from Bamban. My mother is Filipina, my father is Chinese."
Her surname, however, is not popular amongst those in the Philippines who are of Chinese origin, the report said.

A Chinese Spy?

"Is Mayor Alice, and those like her with mysterious backgrounds, working as an asset for China? Planted in our country so that they will be able to influence Philippine politics?" Ms Hontiveros said.
Guo has avoided media interviews since her appearance in the Senate.
"It's hard to believe Bamban Mayor Alice Guo, when her answer to our questions is always 'I don't know' and she can't even remember where she lived," Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who was also present at the hearing, said.
President Marcos said the investigation aims to prevent foreign nationals from holding public offices in the Philippines.
"We will tighten law enforcement. The laws are there, the problem is some think these people can bring money in, or they get bribed," he said.
Investigation into Guo's case is currently underway. She risks losing her office if found to be holding public office illegally.
End of Article
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