GMA-7: Sarah violated contract with network

The Kapuso network said actress Sarah Lahbati violated her contract when she decided to take a leave of absence without the permission of the GMA Artist Center.

[Related: GMA-7 responds to Sarah's Twitter posts]

In a statement sent to Yahoo! Philippines OMG! on Sunday, January 6, GMA-7 revealed that Sarah’s contract with the network has “no provision for leave of absence.” “Sarah’s unilateral decision to go on leave, despite its earlier disapproval by the Network, is a violation of her contract with the Network,” the statement said.
 
Sarah’s leave was rejected because her reasons for taking the said hiatus were “vague and unsubstantiated.”
 
The network further explained that Sarah’s planned trip to Switzerland will be an additional violation of her contract.
 
It will be recalled that Sarah announced on Twitter that she will fly back to Switzerland after a “misunderstanding” with GMA Artist Center.

The 19-year-old actress earlier announced that she signed a co-management deal with Annabelle Rama’s Royal Era Entertainment and Artist Management (Annabelle is the mother of her boyfriend Richard Gutierrez). However, in a phone interview with Yahoo! Philippines OMG!, the talent manager said she has long rescinded her contract with Sarah.

[More: Annabelle Rama addresses Sarah Lahbati pregnancy rumors]

The walk-out issue

On her tweets dated January 4, Sarah alleged that the conflict with the network started when she declined to sign a co-management deal with ICONS Talent Management.
 
“All the chaos started to happen when I declined to be part of ICONS management. A top executive of the network once promised me stardom if I sign a contract with ICONS management. Just because I didn't sign this is what I get,” she posted on her official Twitter account.
 
But GMA-7 denied Sarah’s claims, saying that the network “has not authorized any such referral.” It added, “The concrete actions already made by the Network on this matter prove that the Network promptly attends to and acts on complaints or information brought to its attention.”

[More: Sarah Lahbati Feels ‘Neglected,’ Announces Hiatus]

The network also refuted the “Makapiling Kang Muli” star’s explanation that she left the taping of the upcoming drama “Indio” because of her commitment with the noontime show “Eat Bulaga.” According to their statement, Sarah did not take part in the “Eat Bulaga” episode the day she allegedly walked out from the taping.
 
“It was on November 24 – two weeks after the walk-out incident – when she finally appeared on the show,” it said.
 
However, the network is still investigating the reported walk out and welcomes Sarah’s denial as “it will expedite the investigation and the actions that will be taken by the Network.”
 
A home-grown Kapuso talent, Sarah is the Ultimate Female Survivor of the fifth season of the reality talent show “Starstruck.” She was part of shows such as “Kokak” (her first lead role in a soap opera) and “Makapiling Kang Muli” (which also starred Richard Gutierrez and Carla Abellana).
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