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Biz Buzz: ‘Gadhafi’ in Technohub

/ 12:11 AM September 05, 2011

Are flashy sports cars bearing single-digit license plates (accompanied by security escorts, no less) exempted from security checks when they enter private parking lots of commercial establishments?

One congressman certainly seems to think so.

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Last Wednesday afternoon, the genteel and laid back environment of the Ayala-run UP Technohub was shattered when the driver of a Porsche 911 Carrera refused to submit his car for inspection by security guards as it entered the retail parking lot.

Instead, the congressman alighted from his car and berated the security guard, supposedly asking him if he knew what the “8” plate number meant (the guard replied that it was a government plate number).

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At this point, our source said the congressman proceeded to punch the security guard, hitting the latter twice on his temple. The hapless guard was then disarmed by the congressman’s security escorts who were following behind in a red Toyota Innova.

Despite the incident—which was witnessed by many shoppers and diners and captured on security cameras—the congressman supposedly declined to cooperate with the mall’s supervisors, while the beaten up security guard had to be taken to the Quirino Medical Center for a checkup.

And the congressman and his possé? Well… no worries… they nonchalantly proceeded to have their merienda at Pizza Hut in Technohub, as scheduled.

According to the police blotter at the QCPD’s Station 9, the congressman is from Lanao del Sur. His surname sounds familiar as it is the same family name of those people who beat up some golfers in Valley Golf and Country Club in 2009. There seems to be an ugly pattern here.—Daxim L. Lucas

B777’s PR001 debut

President Aquino’s delegation on his first official trip to China consisted, understandably, of Cabinet members and hundreds of prominent Filipino businessmen. Of the two planes specially chartered for the state visit, delegates jostled for choice seats on the Boeing 777 airplane chartered from Philippine Airlines (the smaller A320 was from budget carrier AirAsia).

According to the grapevine, businessmen who paid for their own fare were aghast at being assigned to take the smaller A320, especially since the presidential party took PAL’s bigger, more luxurious and state-of-the-art B777.

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It was learned that Malacañang originally wanted to hire PAL’s Airbus A330, but PAL owner Lucio Tan would hear none of it. The taipan reportedly upgraded the airplane to a long-range B777 at no extra cost to the government.

It was aptly designated “PR001” with the presidential seal to boot. What caught many by surprise, however, was the decision of the media-shy airline owner to seat himself in the economy class section with his wife and daughter Vivienne in tow.

But to those familiar with the taipan’s ways, this was hardly surprising since he regularly takes coach whether flying on short- or long-haul flights.

He often tells his subordinates that there’s no difference between business and economy class since both arrive at the same time. So there.—Daxim L. Lucas

Corporate governance czar

Former Ateneo Law dean Cesar Villanueva will likely be plucked out of his post as chair of Clark Development Corp. to take on a more “macro” a.k.a. Cabinet-level post.

Villanueva will likely be named by P-Noy to be the first chair of the soon-to-be-created Corporate Governance Commission. The commission will have jurisdiction over all government-owned and -controlled corporations, government instrumentalities with corporate powers, government corporate entities and government financial institutions including their subsidiaries (excluded from this are the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, state universities and colleges, cooperatives, local water districts and research institutions).

Once also considered for the post of Securities and Exchange Commission chair, Villanueva is deemed an expert on corporate governance and has authored “The Law and Practice on Philippine Corporate Governance,” which had bagged the “Best Book” in the Professions award at the 29th National Book Awards.—Doris C. Dumlao

Going fine dining

Encouraged by the strong results of its newest restaurant format “Kabisera” (the more upscale sister restaurant of Dencio’s) in Bonifacio High Street and Power Plant Mall, the Pancake House group plans to introduce another upscale restaurant format riding on the expertise of flagship brand “Pancake House.”

Catering to a growing segment of the populace that is more discriminating and willing to pay a premium for better ambience and food presentation, the Pancake House group (which recently acquired pizza chain Yellow Cab) will soon introduce another homegrown brand called “Maple.” Group chair Martin Lorenzo said the restaurant chain was now ready to launch the latest brand in selected locations.

But while opening selected high-end restaurants—which enjoy better margins and are usually much resilient to economic downturns—is part of its diversification, Pancake House doesn’t see upscale dining eventually accounting for the bulk of its business. Lorenzo said if the group could have five Kabisera and five Maple stores, this could account for 5-7 percent of sales in the foreseeable future. It’s all dependent on having “jackpot” locations, of which there aren’t too many in the metropolis, he said.—Doris C. Dumlao

Fight for lucrative MRT ads

Feeling alluded to by last Monday’s Biz Buzz item, outdoor ad agency Trackworks wrote to stress that it had not given the Department of Transportation and Communications “the slip” in its ongoing operations.

“All advertising placements on the MRT 3 line are based on a legitimate contract for advertising services entered into by the DoTC and Trackworks on May 27, 2011,” the company said. “The contract covers identified areas of the Buendia, Shaw and Ayala MRT stations, which the DoTC controls advertising rights to, as a result of its 2002 development rights restructuring agreement with MRT Development Corp. (MRT Devco).”

Trackworks said the deal also addressed the need of the government to generate additional revenue for MRT 3 since it had been prepaying DoTC its monthly rental for the use of the facilities since 2009.

The company added that claims by certain “mid-level DPWH officials” to the contrary were “part of a concerted effort” to derail the firm’s business. Trackworks added that it had already approached Secretaries Singson of Public Works and Highways and Roxas of Transportation and Communications to make them aware of the issue and was now “contemplating the filing of administrative charges against the concerned mid-level officials [of the DPWH].”—Daxim L. Lucas

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TAGS: Advertising, Cesar Villanueva, China state visit, Congressman, fine dining, food, MRT 3, power abuse, Restaurant
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