Sarah Lahbati Files Criminal Case Against GMA-7's Atty. Annette Gozon-AbrogarSarah Lahbati's camp filed a grave coercion case against the management of GMA-7, particularly its president Atty. Annette Gozon-Abrogar. The case also included ICONS talent management executives Albert Munoz, Shiela Buendia and Andre Dee.
Also included in the case are Arsenio Baltazar III, the former head of the talent development and management department of GMA-7, and Michael Uycoco, Lahbati's former handler.
The case was filed before Assistant City Prosecutor Ramoncio Ocampo. Lahbati was represented by Atty. Marie Glen Abraham. Also with her during the filing of the case was her mother, Estrella Lahbati.
Before she left for Switzerland, the actress opened up in her Twitter account regarding Abrogar, who reportedly pushed her to sign up for a co-management contract with ICONS celebrity marketing. It was an "under-the-table" deal between GMA Artist Center and ICONS, Lahbati said.
On January 10, Abrogar filed a libel case against Lahbati. Three days after that, the actress flew to Switzerland to supposedly "study" there.
The court issued a warrant of arrest on May 20, but it wasn't until July 11 that Lahbati went back to the Philippines and posted bail. GMA Artist Center said Lahbati violated her contract with the network since she is still in contract with them until January 2015.
Abraham said even before Lahbati left for Switzerland, she has already consulted with a number of lawyers regarding what move she should take against the GMA Artist Center.
"Kaya lang, when she left, there’s already a warrant of arrest against here, so hindi na niya nagawa ang mga dapat niyang gawin before. That’s why when she returned, ngayon lang nagawa yung pagsasampa ng kaso."
She left the country because she needed a "breather," Lahbati said, which was contrary to reports saying she went to Switzerland to give birth to her child with boyfriend Richard Gutierrez.
This is the right time to fix things, Lahbati said, because even her parents didn't approve of the way GMA treated the actress.
"I was living a peaceful life in Geneva. Para sa akin at sa mga magulang ko, parang it’s time na defend my side and to clear my name after all ng mga nangyari. Lahat ng mga lumabas na news sa Internet at sa TV, parang sabi ko, I have to clear my name and defend myself."
Regarding the issue if she was pregnant or not, the actress remained mum on the issue. She said she is now focusing on the case and that she doesn't want to comment or react to issues that are not related to the case.
"Let’s not get distracted sa issues na walang kinalaman sa case. Hindi ko alam kung bakit nililihis, bakit dini-distract ang mga tao. Laging ‘yon nang ‘yon ang question."
She's merely here to "fix and finish things." Lahbati has yet to decide if she will pursue her career in showbiz.