Co-op moves against ex-board members over funds misuse

(Francis Allan Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The current leadership of the Iloilo City Government Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (ICGEMPC) has announced impending legal action against four of its former Board of Directors (BOD) members, aiming to reclaim improperly disbursed funds and potentially seize properties if required, according to the cooperative’s chairperson on Monday.

BOD chairperson Joseph Edward Areño said that the current board is seeking to file 4 civil and criminal cases against these unnamed former ICGEMPC officers.

The criminal cases are for estafa under the Revised Penal Code and for violations of laws implemented by the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA).

Areño emphasized that the main objective of these lawsuits is to recover up to ₱21 million in loan disbursements and to secure the attachment of the defendants’ properties to guarantee reimbursement.

This legal strategy aligns with Section 9, Rule 39 of the 2019 Rules on Civil Procedure, which permits enforcement of monetary judgments by levying the debtor’s properties when cash payment is not feasible.

“We are contemplating to file a case collectively [against the 4 ex-BOD members]. What [Iloilo City] Mayor [Jerry Treñas] wanted 2 weeks ago is not to file a criminal case, which is along the line of what we are also preparing,” Areño said.

“What we are after is for the money that would be coming in. What sense is there to imprison them if we cannot collect from them?” he added.

Areño stated that the foundation of the cases lies in the fact that the accused officers had authorized checks in their own favor, among other irregularities.

The issue first came to light last year when it was uncovered that ICGEMPC officers had taken out loans totaling nearly ₱23 million, with significant amounts attributed to some city government department heads.

Further scrutiny during an August 2023 city council session revealed an approximate ₱55.809 million in outstanding debts owed by its members.