Lending money at high interest in Cebu City Hall 'must stop'

Cebu City Hall
Cebu City Hall(Google steet view)

EMPLOYEES of Cebu City Hall lending money to their colleagues with high-interest rates may have to reconsider their practice, as such action will soon be penalized once the Cebu City Employees Code of Ethics is amended.

If the amendment is approved, employees involved in such lending business may face dismissal from their employment.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera has proposed amending City Ordinance 2142, or the Code of Ethics of Cebu City Employees, after hearing that some City Government workers are involved in the lending business.

Pesquera filed the amending ordinance during the regular session on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. The measure was referred to the committee on laws for review.

Pesquera, in a text message on Sunday, Feb. 4, said she is not against lending money; what she is opposing is the “usurious” interest rates.

Some lenders impose a 20 percent interest rate per month, according to Pesquera.

In the proposed ordinance, Pesquera said she had learned that one reason for delayed salaries, especially for job order (JO) employees, was the alleged lending business of some employees tasked with processing the payroll.

Such allegation prompted Pesquera to include in the code of ethics of City employees the provision prohibiting the act of engaging in lending business with usurious interest rates and discounting checks.

Proposed amendments

Pesquera proposed to amend Sections 3, 6, and 14 of City Ordinance 2142.

The legislator proposed adding to Section 3, the definition of terms, the cheque discounting and usurious definitions:

[]Cheque discounting - a process where one purchases a cheque in the name of another person at a discounted value and then collects payment for those cheques from the original payers over a specific period.

[]Usurious - the practice of usury; charging illegal or exorbitant rates of interest for the use of money.

In Section 6, conduct and behavior, the proposed amendment is to add lending money in the provisions under the following acts that constitute a violation:

[]Section 6. Conduct and Behavior. 6.1.b. Lending money (either personally or through family members within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity) to co-employees charging usurious interest rates or in the practice of discounting cheques at high-interest/discount rates.

For Section 14, in the provision of penalties, proposed amendments include a 10-day suspension for the first penalty; 15-day suspension for the second penalty; and dismissal for the third violation.

Pesquera said a complainant has to come out to identify the employees involved in lending business with high-interest rates, adding that those in the lending business will not be penalized automatically unless a complainant files a complaint.

Pesquera said only those who lend money with high-interest rates will be punished.

“Those who borrowed money are already been punished. Punished by their own foolishness because they are paying high interest rates ,” she said.

If approved, the new measure will take effect 15 days from the date of publication in a newspaper of general circulation.


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