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COCKTALES | PNoy's comms team morphs into 'crisis' PR firm means BUSINESS

Half a year after leaving Malacanang, the top PNoy communications officials have regrouped to embark on a new mission - offering strategic and "crisis" communications counseling and reputational management for corporate and other paying clients.

Aquino administration spokespersons Edwin Lacierda, Abigail Valte, and Manuel Quezon III have formed the DDI-TBM Consultancy Corp. doing business as DDI Strategic Communications, pitching their Malacanang experience and their political and media connections to their target clients.

"I and our company, DDI Strategic Communications, are fully equipped with assisting our clients navigate through the new media landscape and providing a strategic communications framework and solutions to improve their reputation in the public eye as well as craft a crisis communications package that prepare them to handle a crisis before, during or after it happens," said Lacierda in their new Facebook page.

According to the grapevine, the new venture has a paid-up capital of P2. 5 million, with Lacierda, as chief executive officer, contributing nearly P1.5 million, Valte another P1 million, and Quezon, as one of the five incorporators-founding directors, shelling out P75,000.

DDI Strategic Communications listed its principal office at 11 Brixton St. in Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig, sharing the same address as that of sports store chain Stoked, HitchPro Philippines, and Filstar Distributors/Hallmark cards.

Despite being prolific Twitter users, Valte and Quezon did not return emails seeking comment about their shared office address, the provenance of their corporate name and, more important, the challenges of attracting corporate clients given their group's continuing opposition to the Duterte administration.

Another Aquino-era spokesman, former broadcaster Ricky Carandang, said he was not affiliated with DDI in any way, having "retired from politics" with his return to the Lopez Group.

And despite their similar acronyms and line of business, the US-based Development Dimensions International (DDI), clarified that neither the Pittsburgh headquarters of the global human resources consulting firm nor its Manila branch is related to Lacierda's DDI operations.

Off to Hong Kong

San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang along with fellow directors Carmelo Santiago and Reynato Puno - yes, the former chief justice - will be in Hong Kong on Friday, along with the competition from Asia Brewery.

The former chief magistrate will have a legitimate reason to be away this weekend for the much-scaled down Edsa 1 celebrations - he will have to attend a board meeting of the San Miguel Brewery subsidiary in the Chinese territory. 

Taipan Lucio Tan's brother Harry and brothers Lucio Jr. and Michael will also be in the island for a board meeting not of their beer business but of their HK property company, Dynamic Holdings Limited.

Also expected to join the HK meeting is taipan son-in-law and MacroAsia president Joseph Chua.

As to the San Miguel Brewery, the Hong Kong subsidiary has already issued a profit alert, saying it expected to report a positive outcome for 2016, a turnaround from the loss in 2015.

The HK unit is even advertising now for senior sales executives who can speak and write Chinese and English to boost sales among the territory's so-called Western outlets in the Lan Kwai Fong and other tourist districts.

Back from London

The Firm Villaraza and Angangco was just honored in London with the Client Choice award for its outstanding intellectual property work.

The Firm's senior partner Bienvenido Somera buttoned up his overcoat amid the wintry weather in the UK capital to receive the honor, along with junior partners Ma. Sophia Cruz-Abrenica and Katrina Doble.

The Firm was recognized for its zealous prosecution of the unauthorized refilling by party-list representative Arnel Ty and his Republic Gas of LPG cylinders owned by Petron.

The Firm's other intellectual property clients include BDO, HBO Asia, Hyundai, and Kawasaki.

Heard through the grapevine

BDO president Nestor Tan has officially become a billionaire, and arguably the first local bank executive to have reached the rarefied status.

Tan, who is turning 59 on February 26, greeted the year of the rooster with over 2.1 million BDO shares handed to him under the bank's stock ownership program.

Even better, the BDO shares were awarded on January 31 at P83.75 a piece as against the day's closing price of P112.60.

Tan in all now owns over 12.1 million BDO shares, a pile worth about P1.4 billion.

Email Vic Agustin at