Sarah Lahbati to be charged with libel

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati filed on May 3, 2013 a resolution recommending the filing of libel charges against local actress Sarah Lahbati.

According to an article by GMA Network, the actress posted over social networking site Twitter "malicious" statements against GMA Films President Anna Teresa G. Abrogar.

In the tweets dating back to January 7, the actress claimed there were "under the table" negotiations between GMA Network and Icons, a talent management company. Lahbati claimed the deals resulted in the management's appropriating 40% of artists' salaries. 

GMA denied her allegations.

ICONS is a talent management company that has nothing to do with Gma Network, it's not a subsidiary company of Gma Artist Center... — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

there had been rumors for a long time that they work under the table for Gma artist center. — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

Attorney Felipe Gozon our big boss, who I only have good words for, wanted to get to the bottom of this mess but didn't have proper evidence — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

It became almost like a myth in the network. One day my mother & I was asked by Mrs. Annette Gozon Abrogar & Arsi Baltazar(artist center.. — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

Lahbati later named executive Abrogar and former head of GMA Artist Center Arsi Baltazar.

Why are they protected by Mrs. Annette Gozon Abrogar and Arsi Baltazar even if they get 40percent from artists salary? — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

Yung walk out issue ko & diffrent blind items ginawa lang nila para mawala ang focus sa mas malaking problema, ang under the table... — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

deals ng ICONS with Gma Artist Center. I was offered by the daughter of the Network owner to join a company that does under the table deals — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

in Gma and subtract 40 percent from my salary. THERE IS UNFAIR TREATMENT WITH NON ICONS ARTIST LIKE ME. — Sarah Lahbati (@SarahLahbati) January 7, 2013

Lahbati was absent during preliminary investigations of the libel case, where she could have presented evidence to ensure her statements were made "in good faith."

Her failure to appear provided sufficient grounds for Assistant City Prosecutor Torres Peña to recommend the filing of libel charges. 

In January, Lahbati announced over Twitter that she was going to Switzerland "to unwind" and "take a breather" from the industry. GMA Network called it an unauthorized leave of absence" and filed a breach of contract case against Lahbati. -