Last night, March 18, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) posted a story about boxing champ Manny Pacquiao's reported decision to sever his ties with Solar Sports, which broadcasts his fights on TV through GMA-7, and to partner again with ABS-CBN. It was reported that Pacquiao's fight against Ricky Hatton on May 2 and his future fights will now be broadcast in ABS-CBN instead of Solar Sports and GMA-7. (Click here to read related article).
Also last night, Pacquiao formally announced in TV Patrol World his decision to grant ABS-CBN the exclusive coverage of his future fights, starting with the Pacquiao-Hatton fight.
"Pagkatapos kong pag-isipan mabuti, nilapitan ko ang ABS-CBN at nagpagpasyahan ko pong makipag-partner muli sa kanila. Sarili ko itong desisyon. Sa ABS-CBN mapapanood n'yo ang laban ko kay Ricky Hatton at iba ko pang laban," stated Pacquiao.
Earlier this afternoon, March 19, PEP received a copy of the GMA-7 statement on Pacquiao's move.
The statement reads in full:
"GMA Network is very disappointed with the reported decision of Manny Pacquiao to transfer from Solar Sports to ABS-CBN the rights to broadcast his fight with Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009 and his other fights.
"We would like to clarify the following points:
1. The existing contract for the airing of Manny Pacquiao's fights in the Philippines is between Pacquiao and Solar Sports and NOT between Pacquiao and GMA Network;
2. Solar Sports just enters into blocktime agreements with GMA Network for the airing of Manny Pacquiao's fights in the country.
"Ms. Beth Celis in her column in [a daily broadsheet]last March 18, 2009 said that 'The network (ABS-CBN) is said to have offered Manny full media support in the next election to ensure victory in the next year's congressional elections.' GMA Network did not offer the same to Pacquiao because the Omnibus Election Code prohibits television networks from doing so. Section 95 of the code states that 'no contribution for purposes of partisan political activity shall be made directly or indirectly' by grantees of franchises such as television networks.
"It was also reported that Pacquiao favored the other network because of ABS-CBN's dominance in Saranggani and the international presence of their reporters. GMA Network's news teams and existing contributors in key areas worldwide adequately cover important events like those of Pacquiao's activities. GMA also has a superior signal in General Santos City and environs.
"Aside from his two existing programs, Pinoy Records and Totoy Bato, GMA Entertainment offered projects to Manny as soon as his schedule allows. These include his own sitcom, a drama series, concerts in Las Vegas and Los Angeles in the United States and in key cities in Canada, and boxing clinics around the Philippines. The network may have to review these now in light of the recent developments.
"Moreover, according to GMA's Legal Counsel, Atty. Dick B. Perez, Manny Pacquiao has a separate contract with GMA Network which prohibits him from appearing on 'any television program, show, promotion or event of any other broadcast media entity other than GMA and its subsidiaries and affiliates without the written consent of GMA.' GMA has not given him its consent to appear in ABS-CBN."
LETTER TO MANNY. GMA-7's Corporate Communications department also furnished PEP a copy of the Kapuso network's letter, through Legal Affairs Vice President Dick Perez, to Pacquiao.
The letter reads in full:
"Dear Mr Pacquiao,
"We refer to your televised announcement that you have decided to partner with ABS-CBN and to the report that your future fights, including your match with Hatton, will now be aired in ABS-CBN.
"Please be advised that the Agreement between you and GMA still subsists and provides as follows:
"2.2 TALENT shall not appear on any television program, show, promotion or event of any broadcast media entity other than GMA and its subsidiaries and affiliates without the written consent of GMA."
"Your unilateral action to give ABS-CBN the right to air the Pacquiao-Hatton fight violates the above-referred provision to the Agreement.
"We demand that you strictly comply with the terms of our Agreement and that you recall immediately your grant to ABS-CBN of the airing right to the fight, otherwise, much to our regret, we shall take such actions as are necessary in order to protect our interests.
"We request your response to this letter within seven (7) days from your receipt hereof. If you fail to respond within the period given, we shall assume that you have not recalled your grant of airing right to ABS-CBN."