Down in the dumps

By Alex P. Vidal

“Never ask for small loans.”—Aristotle Onassis

THE deeper the Iloilo City Hall Ad Hoc Committee headed by City Legal Officer Joseph Areño digs into the controversy surrounding the cash-strapped Iloilo City Government Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ICGEMPC), the more it unearths horrendous cases of mismanagement and irregularity since way back in 2020, or earlier.

And it appears some of those that need to be subjected to intense scrutiny and investigation are subalterns of Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” P. Treñas, who has vowed to throw the books on them even if they are his allies—if found liable of any malfeasance.

Either some of them are appointed officials (co-terminus or permanent) or elected members of the Iloilo City Council and their ranking employees who had a “smooth sailing” access to the loan portfolio owing to their positions and influence.

Interestingly, none of them has been named in the initial reports even as Atty. Areño is bidding for more time before the chaffs can be separated from the grains; and before any disciplinary action can be meted against them, if warranted, by the city mayor, who is himself an ICGEMPC member.

It’s pathetic that the lion’s share of any culpability is purportedly shared by those in the city mayor’s inner circle.


Despite operating at a loss due to “unjustifiable” expenses, according to the Daily Guardian report, ICGEMPC surprisingly was able to spend some P2 million for each of the general assemblies in 2022 and 2023.

Already hobbled by reports that many ICGEMPC members have unpaid or overdue loans that runs to millions of pesos, it was further discovered that the cooperative has been operating in deficit as of June 2023.

As we mentioned in our previous articles, it is doubtful if those with gargantuan overdue accounts can settle their loans before December 2023, even if they would pay the loans via salary deduction right away.

The only way for some of them to wiggle out from the mess and remedy the problem is to probably pay at least half of the amount for those who have breached the P1 million plateau.

Then they can start negotiating how to settle the rest of the amount due the cooperative without prejudice to the members who religiously pay their dues.

Promissory notes and salary deductions aren’t enough if timetable is imminent to recover the long overdue cooperative loans.


While the Philippines was busy celebrating the lone—but “very meaningful”—victory in the 2023 FIBA World Cup by thrashing Asia’s powerhouse, China, 96-75, Spain was enmeshed in a dispirited furor to kick out Football Federation chief, Luis Rubiales, over that infamously unwanted kiss on a female soccer star, Jenni Hermoso, during the FIFA Women’s World Cup awarding ceremony.

Spain’s coronation as the 2023 FIFA World Cup champion has been overshadowed by the controversy which has dominated the news since last month.

Hundreds have turned out in protest against Rubiales. Spain’s women’s team has refused to play until Rubiales is removed. And Hermoso herself reiterated that she did not appreciate or consent to her boss’s boorish behavior at the World Cup.

“I felt vulnerable and the victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act,” she said in a statement.

“This is not solved with the resignation of Luis Rubiales, this requires a process of change and an absolute restructuring of the model and concept of the Football Federation itself,” said Beatriz Alvarez, president of La Liga F, Spain’s top women’s league. “I think there are many people close to Rubiales who promote this corrupt system … It is unacceptable, it shows that more than the president has to change, the entire model has to change.”

Did Hermosa and the people of Spain overreact? Did they really believe Rubiales intentionally “molested” the soccer star in public?

What a wasted opportunity to savor the once-in-a-lifetime World Cup  success as a nation only because of the bandit’s kiss.

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