KENNETH Dong was an asset to Liv Super Club until the P6.4 billion shabu controversy. Today, I won’t be surprised that his partners would call him an asshole.
I admit I no longer go to disco pubs since I retired from SunStar in August 2010. In fact, I haven’t been to Liv Super Club, though I’m thinking of checking it out in the next few days because of curiosity. So, until Mark Taguba mentioned Dong’s name in the ongoing Senate inquiry into the controversial shabu shipment, I haven’t heard of him.
But I think many fellow journalists also heard of Dong for the first time that day. News about him erroneously described the Manila-based businessman as Cebu-based. The reports also led us to believe that Dong was “The Man” at Liv Super Club.
Now we know that he is only a minority shareholder and not part of management. But his involvement in the controversial shabu shipment has triggered a crisis of sorts for the club. Netizens and mainstream media, even government, have begun looking into the businesses of the other partners. Wa man silay labot sa kalaki ni Dong sa Manila apan mura na sab og sad-an sila kon manganlan.
Even a story on PDEA clearing Liv had headings like “Drugs available in club.”
Noting a drop in the club’s guests, the operations manager BenRay Conti, in an interview by reporters, expressed fears that if they can’t recover, management might close the bar. Sayang. Liv Super Club has become a landmark in the night life scene for both locals and tourists. Luoy sab ilang over 100 employees.
However, it is my impression that Liv is not giving up. A Mandaue City Hall friend texted that the club paid their amusement tax.
The club’s 130,000 social media followers are also expressing their support. Let’s see if this will be a lifeline for a club fighting for its life.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña recently showed that he won’t hesitate to close down establishments without business permits even if the owners are close to him.
I don’t buy the revenge narrative the owners of Rico’s Lechon put forward in a recent press conference. They are now saying that the action of City Hall happened after the Dionsons said they would end their business partnership on July 21, 2017.
But screenshots of chats between business partners Bea Villegas-Osmeña and the Dionson children showed otherwise. One screenshot showed Bea expressing concern about the business permit of the Mabolo branch as early as February 2, 2017.
Apparently, this was not taken seriously until City Hall served warnings and a show-cause order. The chats reflected nothing that could be interpreted as evidence of an internal dispute.
Frankly, I thought fighting City Hall was the wrong course of action especially when the revenge narrative has gaping holes.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2017.
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