Sarah Lahbati Returns To The CountryYoung actress Sarah Lahbati has returned home after spending six months of ‘vacation’ in Switzerland. The 19-year-old Kapuso star arrived last Thursday (July 11) around 11:30 p.m. aboard Etihad Airways flight 428, which landed at the Nino Aquino International Airport directly from Abu Dhabi. There is still no direct flight connecting Manila to Switzerland.
As expected, Lahbati was accompanied by actor-boyfriend Richard Gutierrez, who reportedly flew to Europe last week after wrapping up promotions for his latest movie with Marian Rivera ‘My Lady Boss.’ It can be recalled that in the press conference held for the film, he announced that his girlfriend would ‘come home soon’ to face all charges filed against her.
GMA News reporter Nelson Canlas tried to get a statement from Lahbati, but she politely refused to talk. Briefly, she said she is back to face all charges filed against her. Lahbati and Gutierrez arrived together but parted ways when they went through the immigration. After that, they separately boarded in two different vans. Lahbati boarded a black vehicle while Gutierrez embarked on a white van.
Lahbati is currently facing a libel charge filed by lawyer and GMA Films President Annette Gozon-Abrogar (daughter of GMA Network President Felipe Gozon). The action was prompted by her Twitter postings, which alleged Gozon-Abrogar of forcing her to sign a co-management agreement in exchange for more work and higher talent fee commissions.
She is also facing an P8.5 million case filed by GMA Network for her alleged breach of contract. The actress is now tied under an exclusive network contract that started in February 2010 and would end on February 21, 2015. She was a winner of the reality-based artista search of GMA-7, ‘Starstruck.’
Lahbati’s conflict with her mother studio began in November 2012 when she suddenly walked out of a taping for the GMA-7 primetime series ‘Indio’ (starred Sen. Bong Revilla, Jr.). She reportedly complained about many things in the production, including her costume, her fight scenes, and her taping schedule. The production had to hire a ‘double’ to finish her pending scenes.
Departure amid turmoil
She filed a month-long leave of absence from her network on December 11, 2012. It was on January 2 this year when she started posting controversial tweets regarding her rift with GMA Artist Center (GMAAC), the talent agency that handles her showbiz career. During that time, she even announced that she signed a co-management deal with talent manager Anabelle Rama, her boyfriend’s controversial feisty mom. She also tweeted about her allegations against Gozon-Abrogar.
It was in January 13 this year when she decided to fly to Switzerland with her mother. She is a Swiss national, having a Moroccan dad and a Filipino mom. That same month, Gozon-Abrogar and GMA Network separately filed their legal complaints against her.
In an interview published by PinoyStop earlier this week, Gozon-Abrogar said she wants to teach Lahbati a lesson. She disclosed that Lahbati has to go to the court once she returns home to face the charges and post bail.