Biz Buzz: Mad rush buying binge | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Mad rush buying binge

/ 12:08 AM December 21, 2015

THE DEMONETIZATION by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) of pre-2010 banknotes is primarily to protect the safety of the public against counterfeiters, leaving in circulation only the newer banknotes with enhanced security features.

Apart from warding off counterfeiters, however, this demonetization ahead of a national election has had some unintended (or not) effect of flushing out dirty money in the financial system.


Imagine some traditional politicians (“trapos”) with big stashes of such pre-2010 banknotes (from only-God-knows-where) now scrambling to turn such cash into usable assets. Our sources say it’s not only alleged “pork barrel queen” Janet Napoles who has a bathtub literally filled with cold hard cash. As they can’t really go to the formal financial institutions lest they raise suspicions in this digital age, where secrets are difficult to hide, many have resorted to creative asset buying binges.

Indeed, we’ve heard that some of these people—some with cash hoards amounting to eight- or even nine-digit figures—were recently in a mad dash to convert their inventory of old banknotes into other assets, using complicated corporate layering schemes to keep off the radar of anti-money laundering authorities.


So ahead of the yearend, some folks in a rush to buy property (whether raw land or condominium units, foreign exchange or retail franchises) may be doing so not for opportunistic investing but really out of necessity.

Furthermore, the demonetization, said one source privy to one such buying binge, must have spoiled the grand plan of some trapos to use long-hoarded cash for the upcoming elections. They now have to take great pains to convert these into other assets… without attracting too much attention, that is. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Black propaganda?

SOME eyebrows were raised when an Australian outfit called Creator Tech Pty Ltd. (through an Australian public relations firm) sent an e-mail blast to local business reporters covering the telecommunications beat with a research study expressing “serious doubt” on the looming joint venture between San Miguel Corp. and Aussie telco giant Telstra.

Creator Tech is described as a “marketing consultancy” firm and its own website says it is involved in “business development” and “strategic marketing.”

And why did this particular firm put out a study critical of the SMC-Telstra joint venture? The author of the study doesn’t quite say, but appeared to take up the cudgels for unnamed Telstra stakeholders. “It was unclear if Telstra shareholders had been made aware of the open-ended costs that could be incurred” by the Philippine-Australian business partnership, it said.

Of course, any shareholder whether local or foreign deserves to be fully apprised of the costs of any business venture.


But what raised the eyebrows of observers is that the report emerged almost at the same time as some local blogs and what look like campaigns in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to incite negative news about the telco venture.

Naturally, the San Miguel camp thinks there’s an organized campaign from its local rivals—both overt and covert—to derail the deal.

If true, expect more negative publicity to emerge in early 2016. Daxim L. Lucas

Bleak Christmas at Club Intramuros


AS MANY AS 300 employees and staffers of Club Intramuros face a bleak Christmas after the golf course was ordered closed by higher ups, albeit temporarily.

Biz Buzz learned that the cause of this sudden closure was an incident last week that saw an errant golf ball—played from the course surrounding the historic walled city of Fort Santiago—smash into, and damage, the windshield of a pricey Jaguar automobile nearby.

Understandably, the owner of the multimillion-peso vehicle was upset, especially since the course should have been protected by netting to keep errant golf balls within the premises (something it has never had since it was established in 1907).

It just so happened, however, that this particular Jaguar was owned by a powerful newspaper publisher, who then proceeded to call the top brass of the Department of Tourism to state his case.

The result: The operations of the golf course were suspended last week until the protecting netting could be set up. And who knows how long that will take? Meanwhile, its staffers, caddies and umbrella girls face a dry Christmas, which under normal circumstances, should be that time of the year when patrons are most generous with their tips. Tsk tsk.

So, who’s this newspaper publisher at the center of the golf ball-meets-Jaguar incident? Clue: He holds office nearby—near enough for his car to be hit by a ball, apparently. Daxim L. Lucas

E-mail us at [email protected] 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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