MANILA,  January 22, 2004 (STAR) SPYBIZ By S.A. Maguire - Sometime in November last year, there were fresh rumors leaked about some infighting between shareholders and the upper management of a 64-year-old bank on Ayala Avenue. This resulted in heavy withdrawals, forcing one of its majority shareholders to seek the assistance of his powerful taipan-in-law, Lucio Tan. After the supposed consultation, the banker allegedly infused P3 billion to rescue the bank. However, according to our ear-spies, the controversy did not end right away because some members of the upper management of the bank were still curious about the leak and where it came from. Interestingly, our ear-spies overheard that the leak about the infighting supposedly came from the President of the bank himself, prompting many to speculate that he’s behind the recent "bank run." One employee told our ear-spy that the leak endangered not only the depositors, but the employees themselves. According to our spyring, the president of this bank was out to get even with the bank’s shareholders who supposedly pinpointed him as the "beneficiary" of the many foreclosed properties of the bank. Rumor has it that the bank prez allegedly resorted to short-cuts in foreclosing certain properties, not necessarily following the normal processes and procedures that are usually adhered to by all reputable banks. It seemed that the shareholders believed the report because they were told of another report, whispered to them a few months back, that the bank prez supposedly gifted his son on his 21st birthday, with a car worth four million pesos. Eventually, the smoke settled and all is well once more in the bank. The founders must be heaving a sigh of relief as they continue to sail off, taking with them their principles of trust, dependability and service. As for the bank prez, he has supposedly been placed in the "freezer" awaiting possible foreclosure.

The Ping And I

Our ear-spies disclosed the real reason why reunification talks between Da King and Da Ping have bogged down. In a December meeting, Senator Ping Lacson allegedly voiced the concessions that Fernando Poe Jr. would have to fulfill for him to allow FPJ to be the Opposition’s standard bearer. Lacson, dictated by the Zamora brothers, supposedly asked that four (4) departments be his appointees in exchange for his support. These are: the Department of Finance (DoF), the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Poe’s jaw was said to have dropped when he got Lacson’s list of concessions. With Lacson in control of these choice agencies, his administration should be aptly named "The Ping and I."

Not-So-Happy Filipino-Chinese New Year

Here is an example of a kidnapping modus operandi that is hardly reported to the authorities and in the media. According to our spyring, a Filipino-Chinese businessman from the South recently received kidnapping threats through text messages. The series of SMS messages made the point clear that the kidnapper knew where he and his family members could be easily abducted. The businessman then reported the situation to the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF) team. After some intelligence work, NAKTAF operatives were able to track down the source. The texter, naturally, denied that he was threatening to kidnap the businessman. He admitted though that he only meant to scare him. Pressed further, the suspect finally divulged that a Chinese "friend" of the businessman was the mastermind. He referred the businessman to the kidnap group for malicious reasons. To prevent their ranks from preying on each other, it would be advisable for the Filipino-Chinese community to be alert to this modus operandi and to be always vigilant. Our ear-spies overheard that some mainland and Hong Kong Chinese, who have migrated here since the handover of Hong Kong, are allegedly responsible for making life hard for the long-established Filipino-Chinese.

Crowd For Sale

How true is it that the current price for a "hakot" crowd is P500 per person accompanied by a packed lunch and free transportation? During the Dec. 22 hearing at the Energy Regulatory Commission, the so-called pseudo-consumer groups were heard by our ear-spies asking for the release of "professional fees" from an officer of an NGO, which professes to free the country from "external" debt. The P500-rate was supposedly used to put together a crowd of less than a dozen professional rallyists for half a day. Their job description for the day would be to shout, curse and sweat it out under the blazing sun. In a country where perception carries more weight than substance, crowds, sadly, can still be bought and sold. Most who know the NGO thought the group was above the "hakot" tactics of the "trapos." Our P500 question is: Why is the Supreme Court easily swayed by these pseudo-consumerists and their flash mob tactics?

Spy Tidbiz

Yesterday, one of our eye-spies spotted the former DILG chief of Erap, who is also a well-known political operative, buying a couple of bottles of Blue Label at the S&R store in Fort Bonifacio with five bodyguards trailing him. Which party was he going to? The administration or the opposition party? Just asking...

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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