In wonderland



Jullie Y. Daza

Alice Leal Guo makes you wonder. Her story a fairy tale? Is she a spy, a la James Bond on the fast lane? 

Too much (wealth) too soon? Too little (verification) too late? She’s up against the Ombudsman, possibly DILG, DOJ, OSG, and Senators Gatchalian and Hontiveros.

The story of her life, starting with her Chinese-Filipino parents and the circumstances of her birth – as the lovechild of a maid and her master, as she claims – has most everyone hooked to the TV news, including those who don’t buy her story. It helps that she looks like a likeable person, tall and slender, with a clear, smooth complexion free of cosmetics, and a ready smile. She has no trouble speaking in the national language.

Additionally, she is the popularly elected mayor of Bamban, Tarlac, and owner of buildings and property worth ₱177 million (according to her SALN), a helicopter that she almost parlayed into a taxi business, and a car dealership including a model that costs ₱23 million, plus a collection of high-end jewelry. For aficionados of diamonds and that kind of stuff, search Google.

As the story goes, Alice grew up on a farm, with pigs and other domesticated animals. Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella without her glass slippers? According to the Department of Marites, her Prince Charming is a politician from the nearby province of Pampanga.   

The mayor’s office stands on the same property as the farm of her youth. Her father travels for his businesses, and her siblings are said to be of mixed nationalities.

Two days ago, the Ombudsman suspended Mayor Guo for six months, followed immediately by her lawyers’ motion to file an appeal to lift the order. Nonetheless, said Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, the investigation into her character and background will continue, in light of suspicions that she has “links” to POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators). Likewise the Senate will conduct hearings. It has been suggested, even if casually, that Her Honor could be a spy or an asset.

Only one TV network dedicated a 60-second report to show Mayor Guo’s constituents coming out with placards declaring their love, loyalty, and support.