‘She looks just like my classmates’

By Alex P. Vidal

“Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen.” —Anaxagoras

MY daughter, who finished her high school in Iloilo City’s No. 1 Chinese-Filipino school, Iloilo Central Commercial High School (ICCHS) now known as Hua Siong College of Iloilo, said she is convinced controversial Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo is pure Chinese.

“She, or her appearance, looks just like my classmates and schoolmates. If you came from a Chinese school and had mingled, befriended and studied with fellow students who have Chinese line of descent, you could really ascertain whether somebody was pure Chinese,” observed Sharmane, who is now a registered nurse in the United Kingdom.

Sharmane said she had many classmates and schoolmates with Filipino mothers and Chinese-mestizo fathers “but most of them didn’t look like Mayor (Alice) Guo.”

“I find it so familiar the way she talks, smiles, including her mannerisms,” pointed out Sharmane, who has been monitoring the news about Guo in London.

Guo, who is being investigated for her possible links with Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo), had claimed in several interviews and during the hearings in the Senate women, children, family relations, and gender equality committee that her mother she hasn’t seen is a Filipino and her father is Chinese.

Her mother is a domestic helper impregnated by her father, Guo had insisted. The 38-year-old mayor claimed she is a “love child” and not a spy contrary to speculations of the netizens.

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During the tenure of President Rodrigo Duterte, Pogos flourished. Duterte’s presidency, which ended in 2022, was marked by close ties to China.

Pogos have come under close scrutiny under the new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. after it was discovered that some of them have been used as fronts for human trafficking and online scam operations.

Guo admitted during the Senate hearing spearheaded by Senator Rita Hontiveros that her birth certificate was registered only when she was 17 years old.

She said she was born in a house, instead of in hospital and raised in a farm. The mayor also claimed to have been home-schooled but could not give further details.

When it was discovered that Guo registered to vote in Bamban town in 2021–the year before she successfully ran for mayor, doubts were further raised.

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The mayor, who has been living in affluence, said she was ashamed of being illegitimate, and that is why she largely stayed inside the family’s pig farm.

“I had no friends. I had no playmates. I grew up hidden in our farm,” Guo insisted.

But as the lady politician grew into her late teens, Guo said she got involved in her father’s business. She would buy corn from nearby Tarlac towns to make hog feed, according to her.

President Marcos has ordered authorities to probe Guo’s citizenship and make sure that foreigners are not allowed to hold public office.

“I have heard talk that I would be deported,” Guo lamented. “My own mother left me. Now, will my own country deport me too?”

Guo said she would seek re-election in the 2025 Midterm Election. Local government officials like governors and mayors in the Philippines are allowed three consecutive three-year terms.

“I will not resign. I will continue serving my constituents,” she vowed.

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Bank of America has alerted me once more to change my password for online banking and warned of the 5 tactics imposters are using and how to help avoid them. These tactics are:

  1. “They said to ignore those warning messages.”

Transaction messages exist to help protect your account — hang up if told to ignore.

  1. “They needed remote access to ‘fix’ my computer.”

Don’t grant access to your computer or devices. You could reveal personal information and lose your money.

  1. “I thought I scored really hard-to-get tickets.”

Research sellers before buying anything. When it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  1. “The rental home we paid for never even existed!”

Research the owners. If a rental listing has different names or if you’re told to wire money, it’s likely a scam.

  1. “They told me to lie to the bank.”

If you’re told to lie to your bank about why you need to wire money or make a withdrawal, it’s probably a scam.

Take a minute before you react: Don’t disclose codes, passwords or account information. (We’ll never call to ask for those.)

Take your time — don’t let anyone rush you. Always verify any request for money.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)

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