Alice and the ‘crime wonderland’ | Inquirer Opinion
On The Move

Alice and the ‘crime wonderland’

The Philippines, like the moon, finds itself perpetually in the gravitational pull of a larger China. Under President Marcos, the Philippines has tried to counter China’s influence by strengthening ties with the United States, Japan, Australia, and India. However, China’s response has been a seemingly relentless escalation of its presence in Philippine affairs.

Newspapers overflow with tales of China’s growing footprint: The West Philippine Sea remains a flash point, with China rewriting ludicrous narratives to cast itself as the victim. Military exchanges with China are now used as leverage, potentially pitting Filipino officers against their government. A surge of Chinese students in Isabela raises concerns about academic integrity and potential espionage. An alarming influx of Chinese tourists, many linked to illegal drugs, gambling, kidnapping, human trafficking, torture, extortion, and the unfettered operation of criminal syndicates, has strained government and society since Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency.

Most disturbing is the case of Mayor Alice Guo of Bamban, Tarlac. The 10-hectare “crime wonderland” established by a clutch of Chinese enterprises that has magically appeared behind the Bamban Municipal Hall is undeniably her handiwork, based on the copious documentation that banners her name—municipal and business permits, ownership, electricity and water charges, and the luxury vehicles found in the compound. Her repeated unflustered denial that she has anything to do with the crime wonderland suggests rigorous professional anticipatory training.

The first time she voted was in the election she ran as mayor in May 2022. So, born July 12, 1986, her registration of birth (2003) and voter registration (2021) were both delayed by 17 years!


I don’t find it amusing that Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair George Garcia declares that this constitutional commission has no responsibility to check that candidates for elective office are Filipino citizens because the acceptance of certificates of candidacy is only a “ministerial” duty. How low can our expectation of our “bulwark of democracy” get? Garcia didn’t even show the slightest embarrassment in washing his hands on this sordid affair. Neither did he offer an apology and suggest a way that Comelec could do better. How difficult is it to provide a big data analysis of the voter data and the candidate data to apprise the electorate of outliers like Guo’s record of not having voted in previous elections so the public has a chance to complain as Garcia expects them to?

The crime wonderland of Bamban, already raided last year, could only be resuscitated with the help of bureaucratic “magic” and had to be raided again this year. This shows the resilience of the criminal syndicates, deftly using the weaknesses, incompetence, naïveté, and corruptibility of Filipino officials at middle to high levels over the past three years to gain a permanent, infrastructural presence, operating with entitlements of extra-territoriality. The syndicates’ pushback is, apparently, already in play—the police colonel instrumental in the raid on the crime wonderland has been sacked.

Chinese crime syndicates are the biggest internal threat to Philippine national security. It is time for the defense, security, and intelligence establishments to shift their gears and focus from flagellating the last remaining NPAs and communist terrorists. This cancer in our midst highlights a disturbing possibility: Chinese criminal syndicates acting as tools of Chinese foreign policy, as if they were deliberately weakening the fabric of Philippine society and sapping the will and vitality of government.

That Guo makes the amateurish move of posting pictures of herself with Mr. Marcos and Sen. Imee Marcos taken at public events apparently to implicate them is laughable. If she has more tangible, direct evidence, she should present it. This tactical mistake shows that faced with a confrontative public intent on shaking her awake from her amnesia, Guo and her hidden panoply of human and material conspiratorial resources, is a “straw dog.”


But amidst the challenges, there’s a flicker of national resilience. These brazen acts have exposed vulnerabilities, prompting the Philippine government and people to pay attention and take action.

The key is finding balance in pushing back. Our actions must not veer into Sinophobia. The Philippines is at a crossroads. The world watches with bated breath as the Philippines acts like David to China’s Goliath, careful not to lose its sovereignty and soul.



[email protected]

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.


© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.