GMA-7 top executive Wilma Galvante testified on Friday, June 18, for the "Damages with application for temporary restraining order [TRO] and/or writ of preliminary injunction" case she filed against talent manager Annabelle Rama.
In her 40-page civil complaint filed on March 17, 2009, Galvante said she filed the P7-million civil case after Rama harassed and threatened her through text messages and media interviews. Rama had threatened her by saying she will get revenge, Galvante added. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
The threats reportedly resulted from an incident in February 2009, when Galvante had a conversation with actor JC de Vera, Rama's talent, in her office in GMA-7.
In several media interviews, Rama accused Galvante of badmouthing her in front of the actor during the short meeting. However, the GMA-7 executive denied this accusation. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
(In response, Rama filed a P25-million grave slander case against Galvante. The case's dismissal has recently been reversed by the Department of Justice.)
TESTIMONY. Galvante and her lawyer, Atty. Alfred Villamor, arrived at Branch 215 of the Quezon City Hall of Justice at around 3 p.m. Atty. Agnes Maranan, on the other hand, represented Rama.
Judge Maria Luis Padilla received Galvante's testimony. The hearing only lasted less than 30 minutes.
Galvante started her testimony by describing her work in GMA-7. The network's SVP for Entertainment told the court she is "directly in charge of all productions for all channels of all production units... and all the talents commissioned" for all projects.
Next, Galvante described the incident that led to the case.
On February 16, 2009, Galvante narrated, she had a short conversation with actor JC de Vera, Rama's talent, in her office in GMA-7.
De Vera had the conversation with the top executive after he learned that Rama was pulling him out of his new show Obra, which had just finished its story conference that afternoon in the network's Concept Room on the seventh floor. Galvante said the actor cried after learning about his manager's decision.
Because of the actor's visible breakdown, GMA-7 executives Redgie Magno, Marivin Arayata, and Lilybeth Rasonable, who were present on the same floor, decided to bring him to Galvante's office, which was adjacent to the Concept Room.
Galvante said it was her request to have the actor brought to her office.
"Marivin entered my office and she was saying, 'Ma'am Wilma, si JC umiiyak sa labas,'" Galvante recounted. "My first impulse was to tell her, 'Nakakahiyang umiiyak siya sa labas, maraming tao, papasukin niyo na lang rito.'"
Galvante said it was Arayata who informed her that De Vera cried because "pinull-out siya ni Tita Annabelle sa Obra."
"She left, and JC was brought inside my office by Redgie and Lilybeth," Galvante continued. "I asked him to sit down. He was visibly crying."
Galvante said no one was in the room with her and JC while they were talking. She said De Vera's first words to her were, "'Pasensiya na po kayo, hiyang-hiya na po ako sa nangyari.'"
Galvante said she then asked the actor his age. "'22.' I then told him 'You know, it's like this, may kontrata ka with your manager. Whatever business it is with your manager, i-discuss mo 'yan with your manager. We cannot do anything about that. What we can do is implement our contract, and we have implemented our contract, di ba?'"
After JC answered, "'Yes po,'" Galvante said she received a text message from Rama.
Galvante then presented to the court her Blackberry phone where she saved the message. She read it aloud, "'Napaka-traydor mo. Lahat ng talents ko kinakausap mo at sinisiraan mo pa ako sa kanila, pinag-aaway mo kami. Bastos ka, alam naman lahat ng talents ko inilipat mo si Heart, gusto mong palausin kaya binigyan mo ng bold role sa kabastusan mo. Kakarmahin ka, hayop ka, gagantehan kita.'"
Galvante said she told De Vera she received a text message from his manager. She claimed, however, that she did not read the message to De Vera.
She also asked De Vera how Rama could have known they were talking in her office.
"She was not in the seventh floor," Galvante recalled. "No one was in the room with us. He was not communicating with her, and I did not read the message to him."
Galvante told the court the actor's reply: "'Siguro po sa handler ko. Oo nga po, tinext niya rin po ako." She added, "And then he started to cry again."
Galvante told the court, "Of course, I was surprised. It was not even five minutes, and I received a message!"
Then Arayata and TV host German Moreno rushed into Galvante's office. The executive told the court that Moreno witnessed De Vera's personal assistant, named Noel, calling Rama by cell phone.
Galvante said Moreno told her that Noel was informing Rama about the short meeting.
She had to the end the meeting then. "We all stood up already, and then I said, 'Okay, tapos na 'to.' And then I handed him my business card. I told him, 'If you have a problem with any show, text or call me.'
"Then he made beso-beso to everybody, and he stepped out," ended Galvante.
RAMA'S VERSION. Annabelle Rama told the press last year that she does not believe Galvante's version of the incident.
"Ang ginawa ni Wilma Galvante, ikinulong niya ang alaga ko. Ikinulong niya sa kuwarto niya at sinisiraan niya ako as manager. Hindi ako papayag ng ganoon. Ang feeling ko, parang sinusulot niya sa akin si JC kaya nagdemanda ako ng slander ngayon. Kasi, mga mali-mali ang paninira na sinabi niya kay JC," she said. (CLICK HERE to read related story)
MEDIA INTERVIEWS. Continuing her testimony, Galvante said she continued to receive threatening text messages from Rama after the meeting. Rama would also berate her through interviews with the media, Galvante said.
"It was being blown out of proportion. So many things were being said," she told the court. "It is troubling, getting in the way of my work, eating my time..."
Galvante also brought several newspaper clippings of Rama's interviews that she said were putting her in a bad light.
Galvante read a clipping from the tabloid People's Tonite (February 20, 2009). "Hinaing ni Tita Annabelle, bakit kailangang kausapin nang diretso ni Wilma ang alaga niya tungkol sa legalities, eh, siya ang manager kaya siya ang dapat harapin? 'Bina-bypass niya ako, bastos siya!' tili pa ng ina nina Ruffa, Richard at Raymond Gutierrez."
She also read four other clippings from several other tabloids, which had the same content.
After this, the judge adjourned the hearing for "lack of material time." Galvante's testimony will be continued on June 25.
WRITERS TO TESTIFY. In an interview after the hearing, Atty. Alfred Villamor, legal counsel for Galvante, told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) they expect that the executive will finish her testimony next week.
Atty. Villamor also added that they still have to present whole copies of newspapers, and not just the clippings.
"We will ask the writers of the articles to testify," he told PEP.
Atty. Agnes Maranan, legal counsel for Rama, agreed. "Kailangan pa nila i-present yung buong diyaryo," she said.
PEP called Atty. Maranan today, June 21, to get a statement from her camp. She said, however, that it is not yet the proper time to voice out their camp's reaction to Galvante's testimony. "Her testimony is not yet finished," she said.