City hall’s ‘loan shark’ Atinado not an enemy

By Alex P. Vidal

“It is a fraud to borrow what we are unable to pay.”—Publilius Syrus

INITIAL investigation conducted by the Iloilo City legal office tasked by Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas reportedly pointed to City Beautification Program officer-in-charge Ninda Atinado as among those alleged “loan sharks” operating in the city hall.

“The [CLO] lawyers are now preparing letters to Mrs. Atinado, and to the other [one] involved, so we can formalize the investigation. After the formal investigation, then a recommendation would be made,” Treñas said, as quoted by Daily Guardian’s Joseph B.A. Marzan in a report.

“The [CLO] held an initial investigation that is why Mrs. Atinado was not involved. Now, since there is an offense that they have seen, which Mrs. Atinado has denied, then a formal investigation is necessary so that the [CLO] can look deeper into it.”

Loan sharks are illegal lending. We agree that it should be prohibited.

There are many risks attached to borrowing from a loan shark, for example: lenders will pay far more in interest than they would through any legal borrowing.

Also, lenders might be harassed or threatened if they get behind with your repayments (there have been reports of people being intimidated or attacked); and lenders might be pressured into borrowing more money to repay one loan with another and end up in a spiral of debt that you they never repay.

In other words, loan sharking is good for those who are in need of emergency funds, but bad if they can’t pay on time.


As a city hall beat reporter during the terms of the late mayors Roding Ganzon and Mansing Malabor from 1989 to 1999, I have heard about Ninda Atinado, whose office was beside the office of the late former Treasurer Roming Manikan in the ground floor of the old Iloilo city hall.

I have personal knowledge, more or less, who were engaged in city hall loan sharking and how and where they operated; but times have changed, and I have not visited the city hall for a long time.

Since, according to reports, Atinado has denied any engagement in loan sharking when the city legal office commenced the investigation early this year and most recently, we are not in the position to dispute her.

She has the right against self incrimination. In fact, she has the right to deny all the allegations.

City hall lawyers will have to determine the truth.

One thing I can say, Atinado is not an “enemy.”

I don’t know her personally and I have no business with her in the past and in the present whatsoever. If the present city hall administration, with due respect and without prejudice to the ongoing investigation, considers Atinado a liability, it can be the opposite.

I don’t condone and will never support any loan sharking, but I’ve heard a lot of stories from the horse’s mouth how Atinado had helped so many distraught city hall employees solve their problems when they were on queer street.

“They approached her, and she assisted them,” said Shaquille O’Neal (not the NBA player), a US-based former Sangguniang Panlungsod legislative staff officer during the time of the late Vice Mayor Guiling Dela Llana.

“It’s not a case of Atinado approaching them and offering them a double-edged scheme to solve their problems. They (distraught city hall workers) know where to go and Nang Ninda (Atinado) always provided what they needed).”

Malabor, who served as city mayor for three consecutive terms in 1992 until 2001, was aware of Atinado’s “acclaim” but did not touch her with a ten-foot pole for a good reason.

His nephew, the late city administrator Bebot Geremias, would “recommend” solicitors and borrowers who went to the Mayor’s Office to “didto kamo bala kadto kay Ninda (why don’t you go to Ninda?).

Geremias did not explain why.

I know at least two former city councilors who had also “directed” their financially troubled staff to “drop by” at Atinado’s office in the past.

For about 30 years, the name “Ninda Atinado” was music to the ears of those connected in the city government, in one way or the other, who experienced how it was to be in dire straits financially.

If the present administration will finally throw the book at her, many of Atinado’s “fans” might be saddened and will feel like the city hall is “killing the goose that lays the golden egg (for them).”


NOTHING IS PERMANENT except the love of God and the love of our family.

“Permanent” friends disappear when the color of money rears its ugly head;

“Permanent” beauty fades away when age and the wrinkles flex their muscles;

“Permanent” (or high paying) jobs end when health deteriorates;

“Permanent” partners in life walk away when someone younger, sexier, prettier, more handsome distract the marital union;

“Permanent” material wealth melts away when bankruptcy swoops down, and so on and so forth.

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born in 544 b.c. said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

God is “watching” whether we’re going up or down; our family will embrace us from birth to death. Let’s stick only to GOD and FAMILY. Amen. (Source: #alexpvidalquotes)

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