GMA-7 to investigate Sarah Lahbati

The Kapuso network is investigating actress Sarah Lahbati for allegedly violating her contract, following a barrage of announcements posted on her Twitter account @SarahLahbati.

It will be recalled that the Fil-Swiss star of Regal Films’ “Seduction” revealed she will fly back to Switzerland to pursue her studies due to a "misunderstanding" with GMA management.

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



Sarah also added that she signed a contract with Royal Era Entertainment, the talent management company ran by Annabelle Rama, mother of her boyfriend, Richard Gutierrez. But in a phone interview with Yahoo! Philippines OMG!, the talent manager said she has long rescinded her contract with Sarah because GMA allegedly wants the Fil-Swiss actress to sign up only with the network.

[More: Richard Gutierrez, A Freelancer Soon?]

In response, GMA Network issued its official statement which reads:

"Last December, Sarah Lahbati unilaterally decided to take a leave of absence of one (1) month from GMA Network, because she said she wanted to de-stress and unwind. Because her reasons were vague, they were not accepted by management. While we understand that work in our industry can be stressful (as in any business), we believe that this is not only unavoidable in most cases, but also a part of what one does as a professional and/or performing artist.

Her leave of absence was also disapproved by management because of her pending obligations (i.e. Party Pilipinas, on-going promos and other endorsement commitments). However, on the evening of Jan 2, she tweeted that she will be going to Switzerland to study, despite the disapproval given to her last December on taking a leave. This is in violation of her contract, because she has to perform and appear in programs and events assigned to her, and make herself available to faithfully and promptly fulfill all engagements contracted for her by GMA.

At the same time, she has yet to address the issue of her walking out during taping, which caused the production team to pack-up, and incur an additional cost of 500k. She is therefore, currently under investigation and the network is still studying on what actions to take."

Sarah's defense

Sarah turned to Twitter once more to clarify GMA network's claims in its official statement.

"I just read the official statement of GMA against me. It's stated there that they are still investigating if I should pay 500k because the taping got packed up "because of me". I just want to make it clear that I NEVER WALKED OUT in any of my work even if they are making me work for more than 24hrs in my past show.

This supposedly "walk out" incident happened during a taping of a fantasy show where I am required to show skin and wear a costume. My call time was at 5pm in Subic & I arrived at 4pm, I knew that we will be doing a lot of fight scenes that day and I wanted to be there early. When I arrived on set the producers asked me to change to my costume & do my makeup right away because it will be my turn to shoot soon,so I did prepare and changed to my costume. After I got ready I told the PA of the show that I'm ready anytime, that's when they told me that my scene was moved and they will shoot me right after dinner, but after dinner they decided to shoot my scene at 4am... From 5pm to about 4am I waited and did my major fight scene that finished around 5am. GMA Artist Center decided to book me for opening of EAT BULAGA the following day which required me to be in the studio at 8am to do hair, makeup and rehearse the production number.

[More: Annabelle Rama addresses Sarah Lahbati pregnancy rumors]

I never walked out, I told the producers and P.A. that I need to go because I still had to travel back to Manila from Subic and be at Eat Bulaga studio by 8am. I tried asking help from my handler to fix the schedule but my handler was not answering at that time. I did not leave the set, I waited for the producers to say that I can leave. I had permission to leave. This is the complete truth.

For the people that are saying I walked out,I didn't, and I'm sure if you were in my position you will also talk to the producers to say that you cannot continue. I don't know why this issue got out of hand and why GMA is all of a sudden on the offensive. 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.

Screen grab from Sarah Lahbati's Twitter account.I am not treated well and I haven't been treated well. I deserve better, I worked hard and never complained, but there's only so much I can take from all this bullying. I don't owe GMA any money, in fact they still owe me. I finished filming a movie called Basement under GMA films, we started around August-early sept. We would shoot the movie for about 16 hours or more, we've been done since mid November, until now I still haven't been paid, not even a down payment. My mother asked my handler many times regarding the payment and until now there is no reply. There are many more incidents that I am not saying. I hope this will end soon because I am tired and stressed out from all of this. I feel like I am fighting a giant when all I'm doing is telling the truth. I know that there's a lot people out there who doesn't understand what I'm going through... People are saying na bakit ako nagrereklamo baka lumaki na ang ulo ko at yumabang. Hindi po ako nag rereklamo, bakit naman ako magyayabang? Wala naman akong ipagyayabang.

Hindi ako sikat. I know my status in this industry. I'm just a rookie who loves my craft... I have been accused and mistreated... I am forced to fight back and defend myself with the truth. I know that God sees all things... This is getting out of hand. I will be quite & stay quiet. I've said my piece. At the end of the day, all I want is what's best for me & GMA.

Thank you to everyone who's showing their love and support."
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