GMA 7 asks court to summon actress Sarah Lahbati on breach-of-contract case

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Sarah Lahbati

MANILA, Philippines—The GMA Network Inc. has asked a Quezon City court to issue another summons to its talent Sarah Lahbati, who recently flew back to the country from Switzerland to file charges of perjury and grave coercion against a network official, to face the P8.5 million breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against her.

The network, through lawyer Christine Bio, requested Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Germano Francisco Legaspi of Branch 77 to issue an alias summons to Lahbati and order her to answer the civil case against her for specific performance with damages filed on January 11.

In the July 18 motion for the issuance of an alias summons, GMA 7 cited a return of summons issued by the court where the process server said that attempts were made on January 16 and 17 to serve the summons and a copy of a complaint and its annexes to Lahbati at her condominium unit.

But the summons was unserved because there was nobody at the actress’ home. GMA 7 said that according to news reports, Lahbati left the country for Switzerland on January 13 and “thus avoided service of summons.”

The network said that during the first week of July, Lahbati returned to the country to file on July 15 in the Quezon City prosecutor’s office a complaint of grave coercion against Anna Theresa Gozon-Abrogar, the GMA Network Inc programming consultant to the chairman and chief executive officer as well as GMA Films Inc president.

It noted that Lahbati’s complaint indicated the same address where the previous summons was served.

“Based on the foregoing… GMA 7 respectfully moves for the issuance of an alias summons on defendant Lahbati at her aforesaid address,” the network said.

In its suit for specific performance with damages, GMA 7 said that Lahbati signed a contract in September 2012 to appear in its program “Indio.” But during a location shooting on November 9, 2012, for the show at Morong Park, Subic, in Olongapo City, “Sarah Lahbati walked out from the taping of her scenes and departed from the location shoot.”

The network pointed out, “Because of Sarah Lahbati’s refusal to perform her scenes, the remaining close-up scenes, which were very vital to the mounting of the whole scene for which GMA 7 had clustered four weeks of scripts for the Subic shoot were not finished … In order to resume and finish the aforesaid big scene, GMA 7 had to spend P576,000 more or less.”

Likewise, on Dec. 11, 2012, Lahbati went on a one-month leave of absence, which was not approved by the network. GMA 7 demanded for Lahbati to return to work and comply with her commitments but the actress allegedly disregarded her undertakings and allegedly breached her contract with the network.

GMA 7 asked the court to order Lahbati to comply with her commitments under the management contract and to pay the network liquidated damages of P7 million, attorney’s fees of P1 million and P500,000 litigation expenses.

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  • madam01

    tingin nyo mahahabol nyo sya? she hasn’t got any career at stake after all so why return back to Phils?

  • ThudOthwacker

    In the States. You have to wear electronic ankle bracelet. Never allowed to fly out of the country. Once you posted bail.

  • dukaponte

    Publicity lang ang hinahabol ng GMA. Alam naman nila na hindi mo mapipilit ang tao magtrabaho kung ayaw niya. Nasa batas natin iyon, iyong involuntary servitude ay hindi pinapayagan. Ang gagawin na lang ng GMA ay humingi ng damages. Ang ginagawa ngayon ng GMA ay lahat pakulo lang. Walang sustansiya sa batas.

  • Guest

    Mga swikit na intsik ang gozon. Yung tatay na unano. Yung si Annette na super babalu. As usual, mga intsik kasi kaya gustong mang-alipin. Hindi naman naiba kay mother lily.

    Pu-tang ina nyo intsik!

  • Melenggay Laranery

    How on earth can person on bail leave the country without approval from the court? Only in the Philippines!!!

  • IntelligentFund

    Why the fuss over someone who is not even famous enough to qualify as a star?

    • pogiako

      ego trip

  • Guest

    Why are the Gozons oppressing Sarah Lahbati?
    Because they can.

    What’s in it for the Gozons?
    Aside from the thrill of oppressing someone, the Gozons are also sending out a strong message to other aspiring starlets and wannabes not to mess with the all-too-powerful network. In a way, this is almost similar to how ABS-CBN oppressed Mel Tiangco over a harmless TV ad for a family rubbing alcohol. GMA 7 is no different from ABS-CBN. It’s all about power, wielding absolutely power, which will ultimately corrupt them absolutely.

    If the Gozons are so hell-bent on skimming off their stars, why don’t they just become stars themselves?
    Let’s get real. Felipe Gozon looks like a freak. He’s short, fat and ugly. He literally lost his neck to obesity. Annette Gozon too could never become a star herself. She’s too singkit, too babalu, too beho to make it into movies.

    • db2 synon

      ok mga sagot mo ah….personalan na…with comments like freak short fat ugly babalu…di na objective ang side mo…personalan na

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    sarah… la bati. BJ and OTW lang

  • M C

    Indeed, the suit filed by Ms. Anna is pure face-saving and designed to create a “fear” among star wannabees “not to mess with the network”. Otherwise, they might all be facing suits just like Ms. Sarah. I am not privy to the work contract signed by the talent but from what I know, never can anyone be forced to work. Based on newspaper accounts , the contract itself does not allow vacation leaves or maternity leaves? Then, ab initio, that contract is null and void.

  • teraytaray

    Because they signed a contract, what is the point if you are not going to fulfill it?

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