My mom took her Pontiac 6000 in for an oil change the guy said there was no oil in the filter Is that possible to run an engine with no oil circulating through the filter?

Only way that can happen is:- 1. No oil in engine. Highly unlikely, engines don't go far without it. Even if the engine is using a lot of oil and was nearly out there would still be oil in the filter. 2. Faulty filter put in at last service. Impossible, the engine would not make it to the next service.

You are right to question it, you can run an engine without oil in the filter, until it melts. The man is having a lend of your Mom.