Solar cheers ABS-CBN P659-M counterbond

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Solar now assured of getting paid — lawyer

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MEDIA giant ABS-CBN Corp. posted a P659 million counterbond to free up their bank deposits after a Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (MRTC) issued an order to garnish the media network’s bank account allegedly for airing a fellow media network’s premium channels without paying the necessary carriage fees.

In a statement on Thursday, Solar Entertainment Corp.’s external counsel Enrique dela Cruz said Solar received a bank certification showing the bank effectively garnished P659 million of ABS-CBN’s deposits on May 26.

“With the counterbond, Solar is now assured of getting paid when, not if, it wins in the courts,” Dela Cruz said.

“For ABS-CBN to claim it ‘considered’ that it was allowed to air the BTV and NBA Premium channels owned by Solar for free was a shallow legal pretext to unjustly enrich oneself. This is fraud plain and simple,” he added.
The MRTC earlier issued an order to garnish ABS-CBN’s bank account, and that of its affiliate Sky Cable, for airing the said channels for approximately three years even if its contract had already ended in 2014.

In an earlier statement, ABS-CBN and Sky Cable said they immediately filed a motion to lift the attachment and garnishment on the morning of May 29, which the court granted on the same day.

“Thus, at this time, there is no effective attachment or garnishment over any asset of ABS-CBN or Sky Cable,” the company said. “We will submit our answer with counterclaims to this complaint. We are confident we will prevail,” it added.

According to Solar’s Dela Cruz, “The fact that they continued to air the channels and earn advertising revenues despite non-payment of Solar’s billings since 2014 sums up the case. They made Solar believe they would pay, that is why Solar kept feeding them its channels.”

Solar finally discontinued its feed to Sky Cable last April.

“It is obvious that Solar owns the channels…that is why Solar can cut them off at any time,” he said.

He explained that Solar has the exclusive rights to air NBA in the Philippines since 2010.

In 2014, Solar allowed ABS-CBN to be part of the joint license agreement with NBA for limited airing rights—which is the right to air NBA games only on its free-TV channels.

“Sky Cable was never mentioned in the contract. Solar’s ownership of the BTV and NBA Premium channels remained. Again, under the contract, ABS-CBN was allowed to air NBA games only on Channel 2, its Sports + Action channel, and a pay TV that it has yet to develop,” the lawyer said.

“Their acts are unethical and illegal, and are tantamount to unfair business practice. Solar has decided to fight it out with this rogue giant on all fronts and we will show to the public what ABC-CBN is and what it has been doing that are at best ‘questionable,’” he added.

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