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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Hontiveros: “Filipino citizenship is not for sale” amid Guo’s POGO scandal

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Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday emphasized the sanctity of citizenship at the resumption of her committee’s hearing on the alleged involvement of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo on criminal activities linked to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs).

“Filipino citizenship is not like candy that you can just distribute. Filipino citizenship is not for sale,” Hontiveros said in her opening statement, setting the tone for a session focused on uncovering the truth behind the scandal.

The senator was referring to the fact that Guo hid her Chinese identity, as determined by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), so she could run for public office and gain authority to implement programs against national interest.

Hontiveros accused the mayor of exploiting the Philippines’ fragile regulatory system to facilitate crimes such as money laundering and human trafficking. “Our system may be brittle, but it is not broken. You will be charged. Mayor Guo will be charged,” she said, urging accountability.

Hontiveros raised several crucial questions about the true identity of Guo, whose birth details mysteriously match those of another woman from Tarlac. She questioned the origins of Guo Hua Ping and the possible involvement of her father in the Communist Party of China’s activities.

“Is she working with Chinese triads? With the Chinese government? Or both?” Hontiveros asked, citing an article from the Washington Post that suggests the Communist Party of China has historically utilized criminal syndicates when advantageous.

The senator also highlighted the need to identify those within the Philippine government who may be protecting Guo and the illicit POGO operations. “Who are enabling her and these POGOs? Are there protectors within our government? Why did we end up to this?” she wondered. 

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