Naging laman ng balita noong July 15, Lunes, ang “pagsasampa” ni Sarah Lahbati ng kasong grave coercion laban kay GMA Films President Atty. Annette Gozon-Abrogar at lima pang executives at empleyado ng GMA-7, at ng kasong perjury laban sa film and TV executive.
Inilathala ang ulat na ito ng iba’t ibang grupo ng media, kabilang na ang PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) sa artikulong may pamagat na “Sarah Lahbati files criminal case against Atty. Annette Gozon-Abrogar.”
Ganito rin halos ang naging headline ng iba pang pahayagan, news programs, at news websites:
ABS-CBN News: “Lahbati sues GMA exec for grave coercion, perjury”
Saksi of GMA-7: “Sarah Lahbati, nagsampa ng grave coercion vs. Atty. Annette Gozon-Abrogar”
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Actress Sarah Lahbati sues GMA-7 exec for perjury”
The Philippine Star: “Sarah Lahbati sues GMA Films exec for perjury”
Abante Online: “Sarah, kinasuhan ng grave coercion at perjury si Annette Gozon!”
The Daily Tribune: "Actress sues GMA 7 executives"
Nang makapanayam ng media si Sarah at ang abugado nitong si Atty. Marie Glen Abraham sa Quezon City Regional Trial Court noong July 15, ang pagkakaalam nila ay nag-file na ang young actress ng mga kaso laban kay Atty. Gozon-Abrogar at iba pa.
Ngunit nagulat ang media, pati na ang publiko, nang aminin ni Atty. Abraham sa panayam sa kanya ng 24 Oras ng GMA-7 kahapon, July 17, na hindi pa pala nila naipa-file ang mga kaso; pati na ang libel case laban kay Atty. Gozon-Abrogar at sa Philippine Daily Inquirer entertainment reporter na si Marinel Cruz.
Nagpunta raw sila sa korte upang panumpaan lamang ni Sarah ang mga kasong isasampa niya.
Sa Agosto pa raw talaga ang nakatakdang pagsasampa ng kaso ni Sarah.
Paliwanag ni Atty. Abraham, “Medyo nagkamali kasi... kasi ang naano namin dun is we will be filing it.
"So, nung may mga nagtanong na na mga media on the issue of filing, so we just used the lingo of ’filed’ dun sa ’subscribed.’
"Pero yun, we had the intention to clarify it when we were interviewed in Makati, but I believed that we were not... intensively explained that matter.”
Sinabi rin ng abugado na umalis muli ng bansa si Sarah noong Martes ng gabi, July 16.
THE COURT DOCUMENTS. Isang araw matapos ang pagpunta nina Sarah at Atty. Abraham sa Quezon City Regional Trial Court at sa Makati City Prosecutor’s Office—na parehong kinober ng media—ay inilathala ng PEP noong Martes, July 16, ang sworn affidavits ni Sarah sa mga kasong grave coercion at perjury laban kay Atty. Gozon-Abrogar.
Kabilang ang PEP sa mga miyembro ng media na binigyan ng kampo ni Sarah ng kopya ng court documents noong Martes ng umaga.
Inilathala ng PEP ang mga dokumentong ito sa pag-aakalang nai-file na ni Sarah sa korte ang mga kasong ito.
Kasabay ng paglalathala ng mga dokumentong ito ay hiningan ng PEP ng pahayag si Atty. Gozon-Abrogar bilang reaksiyon sa mga kasong “isinampa” ni Sarah laban sa kanya.
Tugon ng GMA Films president, sa pamamagitan ng text: "I haven‘t received anything from her lawyers but if it‘s true, then I welcome it since she‘s now fighting in the proper venue. Now the public will know what the truth is."
Kahapon, July 17, ay muling nagbigay ng pahayag si Atty. Gozon-Abrogar sa PEP, sa pamamagitan ng managing editor na si Karen Pagsolingan.
Ikinagulat daw niya na nabigyan na ang PEP ng kopya ng dokumento samantalang wala pa silang kopya nito.
Saad niya, "Much as I had hoped that the issues between Sarah and myself would be left with the courts (which is the proper venue to determine the truth), I was surprised that someone already gave PEP a copy of the complaints to be published.
"As a matter of fact, my lawyers and I haven’t even received the copies of the complaints yet.
"It behooves me now to correct the lies and misleading statements she made.
"I will answer and correct her statements in detail but I want to do it under oath when I file my answer. I will send you a copy when I have filed it already."
Kagabi, July 17, ay nakapanayam din ng GMA News si Atty. Gozon-Abrogar kaugnay ng pagbabalik sa bansa ni Sarah upang harapin ang kasong libel na isinampa ng una laban sa young actress, at ang pagsasampa ng kontra-demanda ni Sarah laban sa GMA-7 executive.
Dito ay iginiit din ni Atty. Gozon-Abrogar na hindi sila bukas sa “settlement” bilang sagot sa pahayag na si Sarah na bukas siyang makipagkasundo.
ANNETTE’S FINAL STATEMENT TO PEP. Ngayong hapon, July 18, ay muling hiningan ng PEP ng pahayag si Atty. Gozon-Abrogar tungkol sa paglabas sa media ng mga detalye sa mga kasong ihahain ni Sarah laban sa kanya, gayong hindi pa naman pala ito naipa-file sa korte.
Narito ang kabuuang pahayag ni Atty. Gozon-Abrogar sa email na ipinadala niya kay PEP editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon:
“I have three things to say. First, as the subject of the direct attack of their unfiled complaints, I am unhappy that they haven’t filed them yet because I want the public to know who is telling the truth and who the real aggrieved party is in all of this. Kung hindi nila i-file, hindi malalaman ng mga tao kung totoo ba ang laman ng complaints and kung may basis ba talaga sila sa pagsampa ng kaso. What they did—making it appear to the media and the public that the complaints have already been filed when they were not and having media carry their detailed and unsubstantiated allegations as if they have already filed the case—might have a deeper purpose. I am currently studying whatever cases I can file against them because of this.
“Secondly, I want to react not as the subject of their unfiled complaints but as a member of the media. I feel that whether they made that mistake with malice or not or with gross negligence or not, there was disrespect to media organizations. Members of the media who carried their story as if the complaints have been filed were victimized by them. By making the media believe that the complaints have been filed, the complaints were treated as public documents that may be exempt from libel when they carry or publish them. Unfortunately, hindi pa pala filed. Therefore, they exposed media organizations to potential criminal liability.
“Thirdly, I want to react as a member of the legal profession. I hope that the judiciary is given the respect it deserves. For me, making it appear that a case was being filed in a prosecutor’s office for publicity purposes shows disrespect to our judiciary and our legal system. Sana, sa mga actions natin, respetuhin naman natin ang ating judicial system.”