Actress Sarah Lahbati sues GMA-7 exec for perjury


11:01 PM July 15th, 2013

By: Niña P. Calleja, July 15th, 2013 11:01 PM

SARAH Lahbati

MANILA, Philippines — Actress Sarah Lahbati on Monday filed a perjury complaint against an executive of GMA Network Inc. at the Makati prosecutor’s office.

Accompanied by her lawyer, Lahbati executed an affidavit at the prosecutor’s office saying Anna Teresa Gozon-Abrogar, one of the directors of GMA Network Inc., her employer, issued “untruthful allegations” in the libel complaint against her.

In a six-page complaint-affidavit, Lahbati, 19, a talent of GMA, said Gozon-Abrogar, the daughter of the CEO of the TV network, made a false statement when she said the actress and her mother were the “ones who insisted that she be given more endorsements and more assistance in branding and imaging.”

“This is not true! I never knew Icons until she and Arsenio Baltazar II, the head of the TDMD (Talent, Development Management Department) told me about it in a meeting they called for in Friday’s restaurant in Tomas Morato, Quezon City sometime in late December 2011 or first week of January of 2012,” Lahbati said.

Last week, Lahbati came back to the Philippines after a six-month hiatus in Geneva, Switzerland, to face the charges leveled against her, including the libel suit filed at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59, which later issued an arrest warrant.

The young actress on Friday posted a P10,000 bail.

The libel complaint against Lahbati stemmed from her supposed defamatory statements in the micro-blogging site Twitter.

If the court rules favorably to Lahbati in the perjury case, the libel complaint filed against her by Gozon-Abrogar is expected to weaken.

The actress’ legal counsel Marie Glenda Abraham said their camp has been preparing to file a motion to quash the libel complaint before the arraignment set on August 22.

Abraham argued that the Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which penalizes Internet libel, has been suspended through the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court.

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