A business scam is allegedly being linked to TV host-entrepreneur Paolo Bediones.
Just recently, a disgruntled former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) complained to the media regarding a failed venture involving a franchise business in which the popular TV personality is involved.
According to Fidel Baclaan, he invested his hard-earned money in a cell- phone reloading business, hoping to make a fortune. In January 2007, Baclaan invested P200,000 in i/Tech Philippines, a corporation registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission that lists Paolo Bediones as one of its officers.
Unfortunately, Baclaan failed to recoup the amount he invested in the business. As a result, the OFW from Japan is now demanding for a refund to regain his start-up capital.
However, Baclaan's wish was rebuffed by the management, claiming that a refund is non-existent under the terms and agreement of franchising.
"Wala na daw magagawa," Baclaan lamented to the press about his dilemma. "Hindi ko na daw mawi-withdraw ‘yong pera."
FULL OF RISKS. Paolo explained to Baclaan (as well as the public) that engaging in any business, whether franchised or not, entails a lot of financial risk.
In the January 19 episode of Startalk, Paolo said: "Ang nangyari, it didn't work out for him. Now just like in any franchise, if it doesn't work out for you, you don't ask for a refund. That's the risk you have to take in any business."
The Whammy! host stressed that as franchise provider, he and his partners extended all the necessary support for Baclaan to succeed in his enterprise.
"We've made the efforts in the past year to meet with him several times, over and over again, to discuss how we can help him improve the business," argued Paolo, sounding every inch like a true businessman.
Still, Paolo said that they're looking forward to sit down with Baclaan to talk things over and explore all possible options to settle the issue without going through all the legal troubles.
"I'm not going to allow it like a media circus. I think something really has to be done behind closed doors. We just want to find out what he wants and if it's reasonable, it's justified, then I'm sure we can work something out," said Paolo.
The TV host also explained how his business is run: "This is a franchise na parang isang business in a box. We have several components working for you, all under one overhead. So, you minimize yung gastos mo sa overhead dahil may limang components na nagwo-work."
Aside from a cell-phone reloading station, franchise holders are supposed to be given a small format-printing business.
However, Baclaan insisted that he did not get the full package promised by i/Tech. "Masasabi ko kasing bulok ang mga produktong nakuha ko. Hindi nakakarating sa mga tao ang mga binibili nilang load. Pati yung computer [printing business] na sinasabi nila, hindi ko rin kinuha."
As a result, the OFW from Japan is planning to go to the National Bureau of Investigation to shed light on the alleged business scam.
The possibility of a lawsuit doesn't faze Paolo at all. "If there's a case to be filed, handa naman akong harapin ‘yon," he firmly declared.
Perhaps fearing that the press might hype the story, the game-show host emphasized that what he's currently facing doesn't have to be intertwined with his celebrity persona.
"This is in my capacity as a businessman not as a TV host, not as a TV personality," said Paolo.