By ACE ALEGRE
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — La Trinidad officials including Mayor Greg Abalos, members of the Sagguniang Bayan, the town administrator, and budget officer are facing a P26.9 million collection suit for failing to pay the P18M loan the town borrowed from the Cooperative Bank of Benguet Inc. (CBB), and P5M from the CBB Cooperation Foundation Inc.
The loan, originally at P23M was used as partial payment for the “blackhole,” a machine that uses a “super plasma decomposition technology,” which transforms trash into ceramic ash.
Corporate secretaries of the Coop Bank and CBB Foundation filed the collection suit.
Aside from the loan payment, the banks asked the court to grant a P300,000 award for exemplary damages plus attorneys fees.
La Trinidad borrowed from the Coop Bank P10.5M in May, and P7.5M in June. The former amount should have matured on Nov. 19, 2011, and the latter on Dec. 12, 2011. On Sept. 30, 2011, another P5M was borrowed this time from the CBB Foundation. The loan was supposed to have matured on March 28 this year.
A promissory note signed by Mayor Abalos Jr., Municipal Administrator Charles Canuto, and Budget Officer Imelda Grupo showed that they agreed that the interest for the P10.5M loan is at 12 percent per annum, from May 23, until it is fully paid.
In case of a failure to pay, the borrower will be made to pay a penalty charge of 24 percent per annum, on the principal amount of the loan.
The same agreement applies to the P7.5M loan, except that payment should have bee due on June 15.
For the P5M, Abalos, Canuto and Grupo agreed the loan will earn a 15 percent interest per annum, and in case of failure to pay when due, a penalty charge of 24 percent per annum is set on the principal loan.
La Trinidad owes the creditors a total of P26,902,500 as of July 31.
The creditors, through Lawyer Ceasar Oracion has sent demand letters to these officials but none accordingly has responded.
Mayor Abalos acknowledged the accountability that according to him, “had the concurrence of the municipal council.” He insists they will negotiate “before the court since it is an obligation.
But Councilor Francis Lee claimed while they passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a loan agreement, the “promissory note” or agreement containing the terms of the loan should have been submitted to them for confirmation.
The town councilor maintains the process was not followed, hence tagging “the transaction as just between the mayor, the Coop Bank, and the Foundation.”
Meanwhile, aggravating the situation now is an apparent finger pointing who could be accountable as La Trinidad Treasurer Wilma Lintan has claimed ‘the municipal government could not be made to pay the loan for the money released by the creditors that were not released to her office.’ # nordis.net