City mulls suit vs local YMCA over illegal rent collection

The YMCA-Iloilo building on Iznart Street, Iloilo City. (Joseph B.A. Marzan)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Iloilo City government is considering suing the Young Men’s Christian Association of Iloilo (YMCA-Iloilo) over leases it collected on the latter’s old namesake building, which is now a property of City Hall.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Thursday said in a statement that the City Legal Office has recommended syndicated estafa charges against YMCA-Iloilo over rent it collected in the past two years.

“The City Legal [Office] has recommended to me the filing of a criminal complaint for syndicated estafa against all members of the board of trustees of [YMCA Iloilo] since they continue to collect rentals on portions of the YMCA property already in the name of the city government for several years without accounting for the same,” the mayor said in his statement.

“A criminal case for syndicated estafa is non-bailable. The number of counts will be based on the number of times they have illegally collected rentals and have not turned over the same to the City Treasurer. The matter is presently carefully studied,” he added.

Lawyer Joseph Edward Areño told Daily Guardian that they obtained several receipts issued by the YMCA for leases from two of the tenants through the City General Services Office.

“The General Services Office was given photocopies of YMCA receipts in this year, issued pursuant to their payment in April and June of this year,” said Areño.

Areño added that they have not yet fully accounted for how much the YMCA had collected, but their rough estimates amount to more than P1 million a year, with lease payments stretching back to 2020.

The city government obtained a Transfer Certificate of Title for the YMCA Building along Iznart Street in July 2020, and full possession was granted via Writ of Possession.

Areño said that the building was acquired by the city government after YMCA defaulted on some local payments, although he refused to specify.

A March 3, 2022 report by Sheriff Francis Manuel Ortiz of the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court Branch 37 indicated that the writ was received by the building’s manager and front desk officer, as well as YMCA Iloilo’s legal counsel, Atty. Edgardo Elechicon.

Daily Guardian has reached out to Elechicon for comment on the matter but he has yet to respond as of this writing.