Biz Buzz: Fast, furious investment banker | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Fast, furious investment banker

/ 12:09 AM May 18, 2016

An investment banker has reportedly shipped in a much-desired Porsche similar to the one Fast & Furious star Paul Walker crashed in 2013. This investment banker tried to skirt through the ban on imports of used cars by bringing in the red 2004 Carrera GT through the balikbayan program where returning Filipinos have the privilege to bring at least one vehicle back home.

Customs officials got wind of the investment banker’s plan when they checked the balikbayan nominee and found out that he could not possibly afford the Carrera GT worth $900,000. Only 1,200 units of the Carrera GT were produced, of which less than half are in running condition because their owners have either crashed or totaled their vehicles.

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The investment banker also tried to pass off the Carrera GT as a regular 911 model to scrimp on the duties and taxes but our Customs people have become alert to this scam.

There are fears the banker might pull a fast one and drive the Carrera GT out of the Custom’s warehouse especially with the turnover in administration. This should make people furious. Gil Cabacungan

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Calling on Digong

ASIDE from victims of criminality, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and other marginalized sectors, oft-neglected indigenous people are expected to benefit from a Duterte-led administration. In fact, even before the presumptive President-elect takes his oath of office on June 30, the Bugkalots—an indigenous group residing in the provinces of Aurora, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya—are already appealing for succor.

The group’s chieftain, Rosario Camma, is worried that his tribe would again get the raw end of the stick if and when the Department of Energy under Secretary Zenaida Moncada would extend a renewable energy service contract to a project proponent that has not built anything or produced a single kilowatt of electricity for the past five years.

Camma claims that as early as 2011, the Bugkalots requested DOE to suspend any award of service contract without the consent of their tribe. The DOE, however, awarded the service contract to Green Energy Management Holdings Inc. (GEM), but the firm reportedly has not had any significant activity in their area for the last five years. Due to non-performance, DOE terminated GEM’s contract after giving the firm two extensions.

However, Camma said his group was concerned that DOE could yet again extend or renew GEM’s service contract even without their prior consent and before the assumption into office of the new president. Citing the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, Camma asserted their ownership over the resources within their ancestral domain, in their application for a service contract with the DOE. He added that the Bugkalot Confederation, being the registered owner of their ancestral domain, has not given prior consent to the award to GEM.

“Our right to self-determination includes the right to develop our ancestral domain but how can we undertake development projects if we are faced with constraints like the case of GEM?” he lamented. Daxim L. Lucas

Du30’s own ‘KKK’?

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A GROWING number of very worried people believe that lawyer Salvador Panelo should not be given any official role in the incoming administration of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. This sentiment is shared by some in the business and legal circles over reports that Panelo is angling to serve as Malacañang spokesman despite his poor handling of the opening of Duterte’s bank accounts in the Julia Vargas branch of Bank of the Philippine Islands.

“Attorney Panelo treated members of media like complete morons in that episode at BPI where he testily asked reporters whether they were even listening to him when they were just asking questions to clarify his incoherent ramblings,” said one stock market analyst, for example. “Panelo will not be an effective Palace spokesperson because he is abrasive and may do more damage than good to the Duterte presidency.”

Another stockbroker said Panelo’s style might work in the courtroom, but that “before the bar of public opinion under the TV lights, he’ll be like a fish out of water.”

A lawyer, meanwhile, aired concerns over Panelo’s track record in the legal profession. “President Duterte needs Panelo like a rock to hit his head with. Imagine having a spokesperson who was a defense lawyer in the infamous Ampatuan massacre.”

The common discussion thread on social media is that Duterte should try very hard to escape having the same fate as outgoing President Aquino whose effectiveness was eroded by those who were appointed to government not based on merit but because they were his kaklase, kaibigan or kabarilan. Daxim L. Lucas

Nadecor wins, Villar wins

NOW FOR some more good news for the Villar family and its business partners.

The Supreme Court has finally resolved the intra-corporate dispute in Nationwide Development Corp. (Nadecor) when it dismissed the two joint petitions filed by the family of Jose G. Ricafort against two Court of Appeals rulings and affirmed the Calalang board as the rightful board of directors of the company composed of Roberto Romulo, Conrado Calalang, Alfredo Ayala, John Engle, Juan Kevin Belmonte, Michael Regino, Marcelo Mendoza, Leocadio Nitorreda and Rebecca de Guzman.

The SC decision removes the last significant hurdle for Nadecor to move forward and—coupled with all the necessary permits already approved by the government—the company expects to proceed with the development, construction and operation of the King-King copper/gold project in Compostela Valley Province, Mindanao, by the second half of this year.

Toronto-listed St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. has a major stake in the project. St. Agustin, of course, is majority owned by former Sen. Manuel Villar and is chaired by his son Paulo.

In their complaint filed with the lower courts, the Ricafort family claimed that “they had no knowledge or prior notice of, and were thus unable to attend, participate in, and vote, at, the Aug. 15, 2011, annual stockholders’ meeting”.

In ruling against the Ricafort camp, the SC declared that the petitioners had no cause of action against the respondents as their complaint involved an election contest subject to a 15-day prescription period. The SC also said the petitioners did, in fact, participate in the Aug. 15, 2011, annual stockholders’ meeting of Nadecor as they were represented by Jose Ricafort, who had a valid irrevocable proxy from petitioners and who signed for and in behalf of the petitioners in the meeting’s attendance sheet. 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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