Add news
March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010
August 2010
September 2010 October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019 January 2020 February 2020 March 2020 April 2020 May 2020 June 2020 July 2020 August 2020 September 2020 October 2020 November 2020 December 2020 January 2021 February 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 June 2021 July 2021 August 2021 September 2021 October 2021 November 2021 December 2021 January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 April 2022 May 2022 June 2022 July 2022 August 2022 September 2022 October 2022 November 2022 December 2022 January 2023 February 2023 March 2023 April 2023 May 2023 June 2023 July 2023 August 2023 September 2023 October 2023 November 2023 December 2023 January 2024 February 2024 March 2024 April 2024 May 2024 June 2024 July 2024
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
News Every Day |

Ghost owners of stolen identities only tip of a ‘deep, deadly’ POGO network

MANILA, Philippines – She is Merlie Joy Castro from Concepcion, Tarlac. According to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records, she is one of the Filipino owners of a shady offshore gaming corporation with an initial investment of P375,000.

She went to the Senate in Pasay on Wednesday, June 26, dressed in a maroon hoodie to say she is a vendor turned BPO worker who has never known offshore gaming, much less incorporate one.

Wala po akong pinipirmahan na kahit anong papel. Wala akong alam paano mag-ano ng corporation, wala po akong kakayahan para magtayo ng corporation (I did not sign any document. I don’t know anything about incorporating, I also do not have the capacity to put up a corporation),” Castro said on Wednesday during the continuation of the Senate’s hearing into Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) involved in scam operations, trafficking and torture.

Castro was named one of the five owners when Hongsheng Gaming Technology incorporated in 2020 in Bamban, Tarlac. They set up shop as an offshore gaming company in a compound owned by Baofu, the real estate company incorporated in 2019 by suspended Bamban Mayor Alice Guo.

There are three other Filipino co-owners of Hongsheng, and one Chinese owner. Castro said on Wednesday she knows the other three Filipino women as market vendors in Concepcion town in Tarlac.

“Way back in 2018, I was living in Concepcion because I had a computer shop there. When I’d go to the market, even until now I see them. Rowena Evangelista sells vegetables, Thelma Laranan sells breakfast, Rita Yturralde sells grilled chicken,” Castro said in Filipino, adding that she was also a vendor before, selling barbecued intestines or isaw.

Castro said she wouldn’t know whether the three were incorporators of a POGO or not, just that she knows that she bought items from them in the wet market.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian showed photos of the houses of the three women as indicated in their addresses in the SEC, all are modest houses.

“I believe they are not incorporators. These don’t look like the homes of POGO investors. Maybe investors of barbecue, banana cue, but not POGO,” said Gatchalian.

“It seems that Alice Guo is only the tip of an iceberg…This committee hearing is in the process of uncovering a deep and deadly web of bad actors, involving international criminal syndicates, local and national politicians, and perhaps, malevolent elements of a foreign state,” said opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros who has been leading this probe.

Lazy regulation and lack of political will

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) was able to verify on the spot that the Tax Identification Number (TIN) used by Hongsheng for Castro in the SEC records is a non-existent TIN. Castro presented her TIN ID, and BIR said that ID is the one that exists in their records.

Castro said her signature on the SEC records was forged.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), as the main regulator of POGOs, was put on the spot for having allowed the likes of Hongsheng to obtain a license.

Senators were irked further because Castro and the other three women were included in the non-bailable qualified trafficking complaint filed against Guo and the other POGO officials. Gatchalian said the lack of oversight has endangered ordinary Filipinos like Castro.

“Under your guidelines, you have a probity check. If we can go to these houses one by one and see that they don’t have the capacity to invest in POGOs, why can’t Pagcor have done it? A simple inspection, why couldn’t you have done it?” Gatchalian said in Filipino.

Ghost owners of stolen identities only tip of a ‘deep, deadly’ POGO network

Jessa Mariz Fernandez, Pagcor’s assistant vice president for offshore gaming licensing, said they used to just outsource their probity check services, which entailed checking documents.

“Probity check ng tamad yan (that’s a lazy probity check),” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian soon turned his attention on Porac, Pampanga Mayor Jaime Capil under whose watch another POGO rose and operated criminal activities like trafficking and torture. The POGO was Lucky South 99, connected to Hongsheng via Dennis Cunanan, the former government official convicted for graft in the pork barrel scam. Cunanan was Hongsheng and Lucky South’s representative to Pagcor when they applied for their licenses in 2020.

It turns out that the local police of Porac once requested to inspect the Lucky South POGO, which Capil sanctioned in August 2023. However, they were barred entry into the compound. Capil said their hands were tied because they couldn’t trespass into the compound without a search warrant.

Gatchalian pointed out that the inspection wouldn’t have been requested if there was no suspicion of any wrongdoing and as mayor, Capil could have invoked his other powers as local chief executive, such as visitation powers and even sanitary regulations.

Nag-mayor ako ng 9 na taon. Nagagawa ko iyon (na pumasok). Natatandaan ko noon na kung mayroong ayaw magpapasok, lalo akong nagdududa (I was mayor for 9 years. I can enter premises. I remember when they didn’t allow entry, the more that I got suspicious),” Gatchalian said, adding that Capil once restricted residents from swimming in a popular falls because of its threat to their health.

“You have the political will to shut down something. This was a popular falls, but for the welfare of your constituents, you shut it down. But for Lucky South 99, they didn’t let you in, you did not insist. You did not use your political will,” said Gatchalian in Filipino.

Capil said the falls was not owned by anyone, making it a different operation than a POGO.

Crowd, Person, Press Conference
Porac, Pampanga Mayor Jaime Capil attends the the senate hearing on the owners, incorporators and operations of raided POGOs in Bamban, Tarlac and Porac, Pampanga, on June 26, 2024. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler
‘Dangerous criminals’

Whether it’s lazy regulation, lack of political will, or the intervention of a foreign state, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) says whatever it is, it has allowed “dangerous criminals to hide in plain sight.”

PAOCC chief Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz told the Senate that it’s been a usual occurrence in their raids to find evidence not only of tortured victims, but of torturers who turn out to be foreign fugitives.

PAOCC has in its custody 14 foreigners they are treating as persons of interest, who can potentially lead them to the masterminds. PAOCC is hunting down three more including Katherine Cassandra Ong who transacted for both Honghseng and Lucky South. Ong is also the one who recruited former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque to lawyer for Whirlwind, the real estate firm leasing its land in Porac to Lucky South.

“They have been here in the Philippines since 2005, and they predate the POGO phenomenon. They are not ordinary criminals. This is the first time that the secretariat of the commission are getting death threats that are nerve-wracking and chilling,” said PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio.

“These are not ordinary money launderers, these are transnational criminals with records dating back decades in China, Hong Kong and Macau. How they are able to ally with local syndicates, we have yet to find out,” Casio said.

Casio said they are tracking the “big boss” but couldn’t be confident for sure if they will be successful in pinning him down. “They know a lot, they know our movements, they know so many things about us,” said Casio.

Casio said at one point there were over a thousand POGO operators who illegally put up operations, including transforming their initial tourist visas to stay in the country.

“We will draw out the links between Alice Guo’s companies and other criminal networks. We will look at the protectors of Mayor Alice, and we will spare no quarter,” said Hontiveros.

Hontiveros flashed during the hearing a group photo of Guo with former president Rodrigo Duterte. The senator believes the photo was taken when Duterte was already president.

“We don’t even need to establish that [Duterte] is a protector. It was during his time that the country opened up to POGO operations. Same goes for his colleagues, and other economic sectors outside the government,” said Hontiveros, although the senator adds they would still have to see if there is a need to invite the former president to the hearing.

In the meantime, senators reiterated their call to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to see POGOs as a security threat, and ban operations.

“Please, we have to ban POGOs. I-ban na natin ang POGO dahil hindi na natin sila kayang bantayan (let’s ban POGOs because we can’t control them any longer),” said Senator Grace Poe.


Рыбакина столкнулась с критикой из России после неудачи на Уимблдоне

England legend’s glamorous daughter dazzles in bikini on France holiday and sends fans into meltdown

A school for African diplomats has opened in Moscow

He Almost Quit Being A Vet, But Found His Calling Helping Unhoused People - The Dodo

The Truth About Female Sexual Desire

Read also

Report: PL club now ‘optimistic’ of keeping player despite Spurs advances

Colorado Governor Jared Polis Says He is Open to Replacing Joe Biden to Protect ‘Global World Order’

Death in Paradise star SPLITS from fiancee and signs up for celebrity dating app

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on

News Every Day

The Faculty of International Journalism and Mass Communications of the Eurasian International University conducts an additional set of applicants! — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

He Almost Quit Being A Vet, But Found His Calling Helping Unhoused People - The Dodo

Sports today

Новости тенниса
Стефанос Циципас

"Спартак" презентовал футболку греческому теннисисту Циципасу

Спорт в России и мире

«Сирано с изящным носом» // В Москве простились с предпринимателем Вадимом Тумановым

All sports news today

Sports in Russia today


Крупный фитнес-центр "Кимберли" закрылся в Москве, кинув клиентов на 180 млн рублей

Новости России

Game News

The First Descendent is dollar store Destiny starring exclusively hot people


Москвичей предупредили о ливне и граде с грозой

Губернаторы России
Сергей Собянин

Собянин: В этом году планируется благоустроить территории у 41 объекта транспорта

Якутское собрание цирковых менеджеров, продюсеров, и профессиональных артистов - Театр и Концерт, Россия и Дети, Культура:

В Москве стартует Восьмая межрегиональная выставка «КРАСНЫЕ ВОРОТА/ПРОТИВ ТЕЧЕНИЯ»

Опубликованы кадры с задержанием женщины, подозреваемой в убийстве сына в Перми

Театр и Концерт, Россия и Дети, Культура: На фестиваль в Якутск собрались директора крупнейших цирков, продюсеры, и профессиональные артисты

Диана Арбенина впервые за долгое время появилась на людях с детьми

Концертный Директор

«Мы рады!»: дочь Самойловой и Джигана устроилась работать официанткой

Фестивалю «Изборская крепость» хотят присвоить имя поэта Александра Дольского

Крейчикова выиграла второй турнир «Большого шлема» и вернется в топ-10

"Спартак" презентовал футболку греческому теннисисту Циципасу

Хорошо, но без финала: как Медведев завершил выступление на Уимблдоне

Express: Медведеву дали предупреждение за ругань с судьей в полуфинале Уимблдона

Как найти хорошую клининговую компанию: рекомендации

Екатеринбуржца пересадили из «бизнеса» в эконом-класс «Уральские авиалинии»

Госкорпорация „Ростех“ поддержала кинофестиваль «В кругу семьи» в Ярославле

В Дагестане избивают русских туристок за отказ знакомиться

Хабиб, Амирчик, Вячеслав Макаров, LYRIQ и другие звезды устроили студентам Академии Игоря Крутого незабываемые каникулы

В Дагестане избивают русских туристок за отказ знакомиться

Академия Игоря Крутого приглашает на VK Fest в «Лужники»

"Самая богатая ученица Кийосаки" арестована в Москве. Бизнес-коуча Закхайм обвиняют в мошенничестве

Двое приближенных бывшего замминистра обороны Иванова скончались в один день

В сентябре в Москве поедет первый беспилотный трамвай

Крупный фитнес-центр "Кимберли" закрылся в Москве, кинув клиентов на 180 млн рублей

Редис ненавидит лето. Как помочь огороду в установившуюся жару

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости
Диана Арбенина

Певица Диана Арбенина заявила, что чувствует себя беззащитной рядом с сыном

News Every Day

The Faculty of International Journalism and Mass Communications of the Eurasian International University conducts an additional set of applicants!

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости