Philippine Senators Claim Mayor Is Secret Chinese Spy With Illegal Gambling Ties, Order Her Arrest

  • The Philippine Senate has ordered the arrest of Bamban mayor Alice Leal Guo 
  • She supposedly owned the property that housed two illegal POGOs
  • Her identity has also been called into question, some claiming she is a Chinese spy
Chinese flag with magnifying glass
Senators in the Philippines are on the hunt for a mayor who they have accused of being linked to illegal POGOs and possibly a Chinese spy. [Image:]

Bold accusations

In the Philippines, a news story is making the headlines that is like something out of a film. The nation’s Senate has ordered the arrest of a mayor, accusing her of not only having ties to the illegal gambling industry but also working as a spy for the Chinese government.

Alice Leal Guo is the mayor of Bamban, a town in Tarlac province. She secured the position in 2022.

According to local news site Benar News, she was subpoenaed in relation to criminal activities of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs). The case follows raids on two POGOs in Bamban in February and March, which are allegedly owned by Guo’s company.

claims that she divested from that business before she ran for office

Guo has consistently pleaded innocence, despite admitting that she once owned half the company that owned the venue of the two POGOs. She claims that she divested from that business before she ran for office.

Chinese links?

Guo missed her Senate hearing on the POGO case, along with a number of family members, prompting Senators to call for her arrest. At least one Senator also accused Guo of being a spy for the Chinese Government, with questions raised regarding her true identity.

One Senator, Risa Hontiveros, said a National Bureau of Investigation probe found that Guo is actually a Chinese national called Guo Hua Ping. “Is Guo… an ‘asset’ that China sent to enter our government for them to have an influence in Philippine politice?” Hontiveros asked her peers.

The claims come amid heightened tensions between China and the Philippines. This is related to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Some Philippine security officials have claimed China could be using POGOs to create issues in their country so that they gain an upper hand in the dispute.

POGOs causing grief

Illegal POGOs have been causing issues in the Philippines for years, with more than 250 currently operating without a license. Many officials have also accused the illegal gambling operations of other nefarious activities, such as human trafficking, hacking, and online scams.

the Chinese embassy asked the Philippines to intervene to protect Chinese citizens

Although Philippines officials have argued that China is trying to stir up trouble using the POGOs, China actually urged the nation to get control of the illegal gambling venues not long ago. In 2022, the Chinese embassy asked the Philippines to intervene to protect Chinese citizens, since gambling is illegal in the Asian country.

The comments came in response to rumours that China had blacklisted the Philippines, implementing a travel ban on the country because of the POGOs. Chinese officials confirmed that this was not the case but highlighted that POGOs trying to attract Chinese citizens as primary customers, constituted “gambling crimes.”

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