MANILA, Philippines - A Quezon City judge set aside on Friday ABS-CBN's motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the airing of TV host Willie Revillame's new show on rival station TV5.
In his ruling, Judge Luisito Cortez of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 said ABS-CBN "failed to discharge the burden of proving that there exists an urgent need for the issuance of a TRO to prevent great or irreparable injury that it might suffer."
The judge also junked Revillame's motion to dismiss a P486 million damage suit filed against him by the network.
Cortez ordered the TV host to post P426 million million bond for any damage incurred by ABS-CBN by the airing of Revillame's show on a different network before October 27.
Both parties were barred from airing any comment on the case.
The judge also ordered ABS-CBN and Revillame to enter a mediation process starting November. Cortez has scheduled the next hearing of the case on Dec. 10, 2010.
According to a paid advertisement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Friday, the maiden show of "Willing Willie" will start on October 23, 5 p.m. over TV5, which is now owned by Manny V. Pangilinan.
ABS-CBN prexy sad over judge's move
In a statement issued after Cortez set aside ABS-CBN's motion, Charo Santos-Concio, president of ABS-CBN, went on air over TV Patrol and said she was saddened that the court did not grant the company's petition for a TRO.
"Mga Kapamilya, ang ginawa po ni Willie ay isang paglabag sa kanyang kontratang pinirmahan sa ABS-CBN na magtatapos pa sa isang taon. Ang hangarin lang namin ay tuparin sana ni Willie ang kanyang obligasyon sa kanyang kontrata. Hindi po ba mahalaga na ipinaiiral natin ang paggalang sa mga kontrata.
"Kaya po nalulungkot kami na hindi nabigyan ng TRO ang ABS-CBN laban kay Willie Revillame.
"Huwag sana natin kalimutan na ang lahat ng ito ay nag-ugat sa walang galang niyang paghamon at pagbabanta sa ABS-CBN management.
"Naniniwala kami na mananaig ang katarungan at ang buong katotohanan. Patuloy namin ipaglalaban ang aming karapatan."
Tit for tat
Revillame earlier filed an P11-million damage suit against ABS-CBN last September 21 and asked the court for judicial confirmation that his 3-year contract with the TV network had been rescinded. The network, in turn, filed a P486 million counter-suit against the TV host.
Revillame entered into a contract with ABS-CBN to host the noontime show "Wowowee" in September 2008. His contract is valid for a period of 3 years.
Last May 25, the TV station suspended and placed Revillame under probation after he publicly asked the network to sack talent and showbiz reporter Jobert Sucaldito for allegedly maligning “Wowowee” guests on the latter’s radio program.
The management eventually pulled the plug on "Wowowee," prompting Revillame to unilaterally end his contract. ABS-CBN has refused to release Revillame from his contract obligations.
The company had argued that 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 TV5 as violations of his contract.
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."
Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News