March 06, 2007

Monday bitching... Gordon Gekko and the Ayala malls

YES, yes, I know it's Tuesday already. I was just too preoccupied to write yesterday so apologies to all. But 'Monday bitching' seems to be a good title for my weekly bursts of outrage so I shall keep it no matter what day I write.

Anyway, I was reading the news today and got my blood pressure elevated again. I mean the nerve of this government to keep on announcing that it would be opening NAIA-3 to the public at some date and whenever that date approaches, they have a million and one excuses why the grand event would not push through! Of course everything will fall apart. The frigging structure's been standing there unused for the longest time! Anobayan!

(Inside the NAIA-3...the terminal that never was. Photo from

I am probably one of the few journalists who was able to tour NAIA-3 a few months before its scheduled opening and from what I remember, it was really designed well (I'm talking here about the interiors not the structural integrity, of course). Everything was almost ready for its use and there was just some discussions with PAL and other airlines about moving in. But of course the grubby, greedy hands of the GMA administration just had to intervene so they could make some money off the project proponenents (Fraport AG and Piatco). I am pretty sure if GMA and her henchmen, you know who you are, didn't stick their noses into the project, we would all be comfortably travelling from one of the best and most spacious terminals in the country right now. Sure, the deal may have been fraught with corruption, show me one deal this government made that's above board, but the point is,despite Piatco's Chengs supposedly not having enough capital to undertake the project, the terminal was built and finished.

It's funny how GMA chose to stuck with the decisions of her henchmen which unfortunately, cost the Philippines' standing in the investment community. Who would bother to invest in the Philippines if their projects won't be safe with a change in administration. To this day, if you ask foreign businessmen, they will tell you that the biggest problem of the Philippines is its changing of rules midstream. So now you have a case in the international courts against the presidentita's government for taking over NAIA-3 without paying for it. (It wasn't a national security issue so what presidentita's henchmen did was actually un-Constitutional.) Investors don't want to touch the Philippines with a 200-foot pole. And what do you know, to this day, the presidentita has yet to be invited by the German government for a visit because for all intents and purposes, she is persona non grata for having scuttled a business investment by one of that country's largest companies.

I am not making any excuses for corruption. As many will attest, I even joined a campaign to prevent the presidentita from implementing an incinerator project being pushed by her henchmen. However, I don't think we can undo corrupt projects already sealed and delivered. What the presidentita's henchmen should preoccupy themselves with is stopping such acts from being committed, for projects yet to be awarded and implemented. Set the example themselves by only approving 'clean' projects, and keeping their greedy hands in their pockets instead of dipping into other people's.

Greed may have made America, as Gordon Gekko proclaimed in the film Wall Street, but it will be the undoing of the Philippines.

A columnist today wrote of how the Ayala mall management is again re-evaluating its security measures after a few overeager security personnel apparently pounced on a woman shopper who they thought was soliciting for, ahem, customers. Of course the woman declared she was innocent and refused to cooperate with them after she was brought to the security office. Well the next day, the Ayala mall management received a call from a "furious" CNN News anchor whose wife apparently the security personnel had mistakenly apprehended. Apologies were made and graciously received.

Well, you guys know how I feel about the Ayala malls. Their security personnel are either inefficient, or just overzealous. Why can't they just be competent? Ayala Land Inc., which operates the malls, is one of the most profitable property firms in the country (they proudly proclaimed a P3.9-billion net income in 2006), so my question is, why can't it hire really top-notch security firms whose security guards are well-trained to keep snatchers and thieves out of the malls, or at least be able to apprehend them, and are really able to accurately profile hookers?!? I have yet to hear of any complaints of this sort from similar upscale malls like Podium or the Powerplant. If these malls can keep their customers safe, why can't Ayala?

(Kainggit naman si Dr. Belo! Does anyone besides me think that Hank Azaria is a hottie? Photo from

The most ridiculous item of the past week: Dr. Vicki Belo vouching for the faithfulness of James Yap to Kris Aquino. I regularly have a facial at Belo Medical along Tomas Morato. In fact, I share the same facialist with Purefoods' Mr. Tender and Juicy. I have never seen Dr. Belo at that branch, so I don't know how she can vouch for James being a good boy there, or anywhere for that matter. Unless he's been spending 24 hours of his life with the good doctor. Or she has closed circuit cameras installed in those rooms! Oooh...shades of Big Brother!

And yes, the rooms are pretty conducive to doing more than just the nasty. Doors of treatment rooms are kept closed to prevent intrusions from the outside. I'm sure they lock it. I mean c'mon, if people can have sex in the rest rooms of airplanes, doing it in a clinic treatment room is no problem at all.

I think Dr. Belo has gone overdrive just to protect Mr. Tender and Juicy from the lashing he is getting from his critics she is willing to use herself as cover. (I wonder why she's doing that. It's not as if it's James who helped boost her clinic's revenues, but Kris.) Now she is telling everyone that a former employee is bent on destroying her and is the source of the chismis. Whether it's true or not that this former Belo employee is out to get the good Doktora, the point is, no one believes Mr. Tender and Juicy's denials of an affair, neither does Kris and Boy Abunda, so why should we believe Dr. Belo?

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