MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN Corp. has filed a P486 million counter-claim before the Quezon City court against comedian and television host Willie Revillame, who had sought judicial confirmation of the rescission of his contract with the network.
In its 139-page answer with compulsory counter-claim, the media conglomerate said Revillame should pay P426.92 million as liquidated damages for breaching his contract with ABS-CBN.
The network is also seeking P20 million each for moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney's fees and litigation expenses.
The company, through lawyer Augusto San Pedro Jr., filed its answer and counter-claim before Judge Luisito Cortez of Regional Trial Court Branch 84 after it was asked to issue a reply to the P11-million suit earlier lodged by Revillame.
Revillame entered a contract with ABS-CBN to host noontime show "Wowowee" in September 2008, valid for a period of 3 years.
Last May 25, the TV station suspended the Revillame for 3 months without pay after he publicly asked the network to sack talent and showbiz scribe Jobert Sucaldito for allegedly attacking "Wowowee" guests on the latter’s radio program.
Claiming that ABS-CBN breached the provisions of their contract with the suspension, Revillame filed late August a motion for Judicial Confirmation of Rescission of Contract with Damages before the Quezon City court.
However, ABS-CBN argued that Revillame has no right to claim damages since "he is the guilty party who breached his obligations under the agreeement."
The company said Revillame committed serious violations of their agreement, which, among others, include taking an unauthorized leave of absence from "Wowowee" and refusing to perform his obligation as talent.
ABS-CBN also cited Revillame's remarks on the cortege video of late President Corazon Aquino, his public disclosure of his rift with Sucaldito, and appearance on a television show of rival network ABC 5 as violations of his contract.
"Due to the public statements made by plaintiff Revillame...the various interviews and shows involving plaintiff Revillame and the filing of the instant case, ABS-CBN was mixed with intrigue and subjected to negative publicity. As a consequence, its reputation, which it has painstakingly built through the years, has been gravely besmirched, damaged and prejudiced," the TV network said.
ABS-CBN warned that rival networks that will enter into an agreement with Revillame will be liable for the same amount of liquidated damages "as a joint tortfeasor under the rules on quasi-delicts and tortious interference."