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Biz Buzz: ‘Sucker punched’

/ 07:37 AM August 05, 2015

Wealthy kids behaving badly always makes for interesting stories and the latest incident of this genre doesn’t disappoint.

Biz Buzz was made aware recently of an incident last July 31 at the swanky Palace Pool Club in Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig City where the alleged assailant, Dasmariñas Village barangay (village) captain Martin Arenas, supposedly “sucker punched” one of the guests totally unprovoked.

The victim was 26-year-old Stefano Juban, who is the son of movie production executive Jun Juban. Arenas, meanwhile, is the grandson of well known socialite Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas.

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According to the police report filed by the victim, Arenas “suddenly attacked… and punched his right cheek” (from behind according to several witnesses), stunning him and causing him to fall to the floor—a solid knockout punch, so to speak.

Prior to the incident, Juban was speaking to Arenas’ sister in a despedida get-together for a common friend. Arenas supposedly accused Juban of “abusing” his sister, which was allegedly not the case, according to the victim. (Some of Juban’s friends filed affidavits attesting to the fact that the victim was at that time “just standing there” doing nothing.)

The Palace Pool Club, of course, is a relatively new hangout of the rich and famous, where they gather about in cabanas and lounge chairs surrounding swimming pools similar to exclusive clubs in Las Vegas and Ibiza. Table or cabana fees start at P10,000 for the smallest ones to P20,000 for the bigger ones, so the crowd is usually upper crust.

In any case, the club’s bouncers quickly intervened and separated the parties and made sure there was no further contact between them. They secured Juban and his group and asked them to stay in one place until they were sure that Arenas had already left the premises.

As an interesting sidelight, one of the witnesses said in her affidavit that Arenas’ wife was trying to apologize on his behalf, but no apology was forthcoming from the alleged assailant himself.

The sucker-punching incident happened around 2 a.m. of July 31 and Juban and his friends were finally cleared by the bouncers to leave the area (after Arenas had departed) by 2:30 a.m., according to the affidavit.

Biz Buzz tried to reach Arenas for his side, but we have yet to receive a reply. We will publish his side as soon as we get it.

Meanwhile, we understand Juban is bent on pursuing legal action against Arenas, including filing a complaint with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, since the latter is a barangay official. Watch this space, people.Daxim L. Lucas

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Insensitive neighbor

Former Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron is getting under the skin of his neighbors at one of the Valle Verde subdivisions in Pasig City.

A buzzard tells us that Biron’s fighting cocks were causing such a racket in the exclusive village that the present and past presidents of the village association have trooped to his doors several times to complain about the noise.

But the losing Iloilo gubernatorial candidate in 2013 has refused to face his irate neighbors. His wife was at home at one time but she declined to face the village officials.

Aside from his roosters, Biron has been accused of parking illegally his numerous cars at the street loop near his residence; keeping a dilapidated car in the public parking space in front his house, and dumping his garbage at the fire alley and vacant lot beside his house.

Instead of trying to fight fire with fire, the residents have sent a petition around the village complaining about this neighbor.

Biron is a doctor and a founder of Pharmawealth Laboratories Inc. He is also a member of United Nationalist Alliance. Just imagine what kind of neighbor he’ll turn to if Vice President Jejomar Binay wins it all in 2016.–Gil Cabacungan

Problem ‘solved’

The Department of Transportation and Communications claims to have solved the issue on a railway common station in Quezon City—one of its self-inflicted headaches from a little over a year ago.

We’re talking about that connecting station for MRT-3, LRT-1 and eventually MRT-7 that was originally supposed to rise by the annex of taipan Henry Sy’s SM City North Edsa but was last year relocated near Trinoma of Ayala Land Inc. That station’s final location has been in limbo since because Sy’s SM Prime Holdings had an agreement with the government as early as 2009 that the location would be in SM. The transfer was thus a breach of contract as far as SM was concerned and it went to the Supreme Court and won a temporary restraining order on the transfer last year.

Some might already know that railway stations, especially those linking multiple train lines, are valuable pieces of infrastructure, especially for commercial establishments like shopping malls given the traffic they lure.

But let’s not dwell, for now, on the implications of that DOTC decision to change an existing contract unilaterally, whether or not it’s to the benefit of commuters. That’s a murkier tale.

After all, DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said his department has “already solved” the issue.

By a solution, he was referring to the new plan to build two connecting stations—one each for SM and Trinoma just a few hundred meters apart. Apparently, according to Lotilla, this had already received the blessing of all stakeholders involved.

That means Ayala, SM and even San Miguel Corp., which is behind MRT-7, are behind this two-station plan in principle, according to Lotilla. He was quick to add that nothing has been signed just yet and the pertinent agreements were still being drafted.

The next step would be to come up with a “compromise agreement” as the case is already with the high court.

Is this plan the win-win solution that the DOTC has been hoping for? Is it a win-win solution for commuters as well?Miguel R. Camus

Gaming dividend

Leisure estate and gaming firm Belle Corp. generated P361.7 million as its share of income from the brand-new City of Dreams (COD) Manila through gaming investment arm Premium Leisure Corp. (PLC). How does this fare relative to the group’s budget? “It’s within expectations, noting that COD’s VIP (very important person or high-roller segment) is still in the ramp-up stage,” Belle chief finance officer Manuel Gana said.

On Friday, Belle’s board approved another cash dividend declaration of P1 billion equivalent to 9.5 centavos a share payable on Aug. 28 to shareholders on record as of Aug. 14 this year. This is Belle’s second dividend declaration for the year after paying out P1.9 billion last March.

Belle has a 78.7-percent stake in PLC, which owns half of COD’s gaming operations, while the remaining half is held by partner Macau’s Melco Crown group.

COD Manila, which had a soft opening in December 2014 and a grand opening last February, operates around two hectares of gaming space, 900 hotel rooms under three hotel brands (namely Crown, Hyatt and Nobu), the DreamPlay indoor amusement park and two hectares of restaurant and retail space.–Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

E-mail us at bizbuzz@inquirer.com.ph. Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert)

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TAGS: Belle Corp., City of Dreams Manila, common station, DoTC, Earnings, Ferjenel Biron, gaming and casinos, LRT 1, Martin Arenas, MRT 3, MRT-7, Palace Pool Club, Pasig City, Stefano Juban, sucker punching, Valle Verde
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