Biz Buzz: Pre-Christmas showdown | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Pre-Christmas showdown

/ 01:56 AM December 19, 2011

It’s not just Chief Justice Renato Corona who’s scrambling to build a formidable legal defense over the holidays. A high-ranking banker from a major Chinoy-owned bank was suddenly thrust into a pre-Christmas action-packed showdown with a lady friend’s jealous husband.

According to the grapevine, the fuming hubby (who thinks there’s an extramarital play) found a window of opportunity to punch the banker, creating some public commotion recently in Greenhills. Not being content with this dramatic encounter, forlorn hubby is now building a case of concubinage against his “rival” banker.

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We just hope that this personal storm won’t make any dent on the esteemed banker’s professional life.—Doris C. Dumlao

Dethroning the Big Dome?

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Word on the street is that the new SM Arena being built adjacent to the SM Mall of Asia will easily surpass the Smart Araneta Center as the biggest indoor sports and concert venue in the country once it is completed.

According to our source, the finished structure will be able to hold as many as 25,000 spectators.

This is a significant leap over the old Big Dome, which can house about 16,000 (or 23,000 when packed solid).

The source added that the SM Arena will likely be completed in May 2012, in time for the start of the widely anticipated UAAP season.

By fortuitous coincidence, next year’s UAAP season will be hosted by the National University, which is owned by taipan Henry Sy.

Thus, it is highly possible that the UAAP basketball games will be held at the brand-new venue.

One downside to the possible shift is the lack of access of the new venue to the MRT line (unlike Cubao), but this will be offset by SM Arena’s surplus of parking facilities.—Daxim L. Lucas

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Premature Frank-elation?

We called it.

In a previous edition of Biz Buzz, lawyer Frank Chavez told us of his victory over the Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco law firm with the dismissal of a perjury case.

His opponents, of course, countered that the fight wasn’t over by a long shot. Apparently, they meant it, as Chavez now finds himself charged in court with two counts of libel, courtesy of The Firm.

In a resolution, the Prosecution Office of Bohol filed the criminal case against Chavez stemming from the tirade he made against The Firm and its lawyers immediately after the May 2010 national elections.

The resolution stated that “two counts of libel were committed and that Chavez was probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.”

The prosecutors noted that Chavez even failed to file a counter-affidavit, reminding him that “only a counter-affidavit subscribed and sworn to by the respondent before the public prosecutor can dispute or put in issue the allegations of the complainant.”

To prevent his arrest and having to spend Christmas season in jail, Chavez posted bail and dutifully posed for his mug shot.

The case was filed by The Firm’s partner, lawyer Elmar Galacio—a Bohol native—whose biggest scalp to date is Celso de los Angeles of Legacy infamy.

Chavez, for his part, said he failed to comprehend why The Firm “derives pleasure with these cheap thrills.”

“They can’t even win here [in Manila] so they obtained a hometown decision,” the former Solicitor General said.

Like we predicted the last time, we haven’t heard the last of this slugfest.—Daxim L. Lucas

Cabinet reshuffle

With many people eagerly awaiting word about the Cabinet reshuffle hinted at recently by President Aquino, some details of the changes are now coming to the surface.

According to our sources, no less than Presidential Confidant Ricky Carandang may end up dancing to the musical chair tune. If the rumors are to be believed, the former broadcaster will end up as the head of the government TV station PTV 4 (a demotion from his current status, if this proves to be true).

Carandang denies this, of course, saying the rumors were being spread by the rival camp in the Palace.

In any case, another Cabinet secretary who may also dance to the musical chair tune, we are told, is Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.

And like we previously pointed out, the economic team will stay where they are. To all their critics, sorry guys.—Daxim L. Lucas

Foiled bank bidding

Last week’s attempt by the state-owned pension fund Government Service Insurance System to bid out noncore thrift banking unit GSIS Family Bank was scuttled by a temporary restraining order obtained from the Regional Trial Court of Makati Branch 58 by the bank’s former owners, the family of former Cavite Rep. Renato Dragon.

The Dragons, claiming to represent minority interest, alleged that the GSIS failed to recapitalize and rehabilitate the thrift bank. They also claimed that the bank failed to allow the restructuring of mortgage loans of minority shareholders that would have allowed them to redeem mortgaged properties. The GSIS is expected to counter the Dragons’ petition, believing that these were old issues that have nothing to do with the sale of its interest in the thrift bank.

The bidding would have had a good chance as there were nine groups pre-qualified to vie for 99.55 percent of equity shares in GSIS Family Bank—eight of which are banks: Banco de Oro, China Bank, Philippine Business Bank, PSBank, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, Sterling Bank of Asia and Union Bank.

The ninth prequalified bidder is PCVC consortium consisting of Premier Capital Venture Corp., Eagle Cement Corp. (owned by San Miguel chair Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. in his personal capacity) and Far East Cement Corp.

Let’s see how many of these suitors will still be there when the court case is over.—Doris C. Dumlao

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TAGS: banker, Banking, Cabinet reshuffle, Frank Chavez, Philippines, SM Arena
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