City hall workers loan scandal

By Alex P. Vidal

“Never expect a loan to a friend to be paid back if you want to keep that friend.”—Bryant H. McGill

OF the reported 18 borrowers with the highest unsettled loans from the Iloilo City Government Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (ICGEMPC), Councilor Romel Duron was able to identify only two names in his recent speech in the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

They were retired City Human Resources Office chief Leo Elevencione and Councilor Alan Zaldivar.

Elevencione reportedly incurred 20 loans amounting to P7.84 million, while Zaldivar had six loans totaling P1.26 million.

Daily Guardian has reported that ICGEMPC has an ₱80-million total credit line for loans facilitated through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

Some of those who availed loans from ICGEMPC were “dummies” and cooperative officers and members with loans higher than their salaries, like one utility employee who got P517,000 loans, according to Duron as reported.

It is possible the other borrowers with delinquent accounts were prominent cooperative officers and employees who have close links personally and professionally. Palakasan system.

It is also possible some of them have already retired like Elevencione and may not be able to settle their accounts—unless City Hall is hellbent to throw the books at them.


Duron claimed there was a clear disregard of existing policies on loan applications, fund disbursements and repayments even as he called the scandal as “large-scale anomaly.”

But why only two? Who are the 16 other “top notchers”? Why weren’t they named in Duron’s speech?

Although Duron said he did not intend to “name shame” them, according to reports, this was not enough reason to name only two and skip the 16 others. Unfair to Elevencione and Duron.

City legal officer Atty. Joseph Edward Areño of the Ad hoc Committee looking into the issues is reportedly prepared to file necessary charges against those with delinquent payments.

Even before Duron’s speech, Elevencione was able to reportedly make arrangements with the ICGEMPC on how to settle his loans.

Zaldivar, who ironically was the first whistleblower of the brouhaha in his speech in the Sangguniang Panlungsod on July 13, claimed he is a member “in good standing” as he has been paying his loans through salary deduction, according to reports.


A doctrine that identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God is called pantheism.

Pantheists do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god, and hold a broad range of doctrines differing with regards to the forms of and relationships between divinity and reality.

Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza came from a Jewish family who had fled to Holland from Portugal to escape the oppression of the Catholic Church.

His whole life was to be subject to religious persecution.

He believed that Christianity and Judaism were kept alive by rigid dogma and ritual.

He denied that the Bible was inspired by God down to the last letter, saying that when we read the Bible we must continually bear in mind the period in which it was written.

He proposed “critical” reading, which revealed a number of inconsistencies in the texts.

Spinoza said that everything is nature. He identified nature with God, saying that God is all, and all is God. This is called pantheism. To Spinoza, God did not create the world in order to stand outside it. God is the world.


So it follows that all our thoughts are also God’s or nature’s thoughts. There is only one God, one nature, or one Substance.

His philosophy is notoriously hard to understand. He was influenced by Rene Descartes but rejected his distinction of thought and matter as two separate substances, believing there was only one.

Everything that exists can be reduced to one single reality which he simply called Substance.

Spinoza said that it was our passions–such as ambition and lust–which prevent us from achieving true happiness and harmony, but that if we recognize that everything happens from necessity, we can achieve an intuitive understanding of nature as a whole.

We can come to realize with crystal clarity that everything is One.

The goal is to comprehend everything that exists in an all-embracing perception. Only then will we achieve true happiness and contentment.

This was what Spinoza called seeing everything “sub specie aeternitatis,” which means to see everything from the perspective of eternity.

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