Court freezes takeover plan for Bantay Radyo
The foundation of Provincial Board (PB) Member Grecilda Sanchez-Zaballero remains in control of El Nuevo Bantay Radyo for now.
The court yesterday issued a temporary restraining order against franchise owner Sarraga Integration and Management (SIAM) Broadcasting Corp. stopping it from turning over management of the network’s three AM stations to the Cebu CFI Community Cooperative Inc.
The 20-day order was enough to set back a plan for the cooperative to take over the network by August 1 when the existing contract expires.
“I am more than determined to fight for what I believe is due us,” Zaballero said in a text message later.
The judge set a hearing on Aug. 5 to deal with the main case on its merits and to resolve the issue of whether SIAM, the cooperative and Pafi Foundation need to undergo arbitration to settle the conflict out of court.
The court will also determine if it will extend the TRO and make it permanent.
In his ruling, Judge Alexander Acosta of the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 said a stop order was needed to prevent “serious damage.”
Bantay Radyo includes three station of dyDD in Cebu City, dyHH in Bogo City, and dyZZ in Bacolod City.
Zaballero’s PAFI Foundation was required to post a P1 million bond before the order takes effect.
The bond will answer for any damage caused by the order in case it turns out that the foundation was not entitled to the remedy.
“We have been dealing in good faith with SIAM all these years despite several challenges brought about by the untimely death of may father in 2011 and my mother in 2013, then part of the transmitters in Bogo were ruined during super typhoon Yolanda in Nov. 8, 2013,” said Caballero.
Lawyer Lito Astillero, CFI spokesman, said they respect the court’s ruling.
The TRO prohibits SIAM from turning over its “broadcast facilities, equipment and machinery” to Cebu CFI cooperative.
Pafi, through Zaballero, earlier filed a civil suit in court against SIAM after the Cagayan de Oro-based commercial broadcast station decided to end its contract with them and let Cebu CFI take control of El Nuevo Bantay Radyo.
Zaballero said she deposited P700,000 in SIAM’s account as initial payment for the renewal of the contract as earlier agreed. She said her family would suffer great damage if the contract isn’t extended since they already signed up with third parties for the purchase of radio block time and made other similar arrangements.
The judge said Pafi’s P700,000 deposit in SIAM’s account on April 10, 2015 is a “tacit” or unspoken renewal of the management agreement between them.
SIAM lawyer Michael Florentino Dumlao III moved to dismiss the case because PAFI did not try arbitration first before going to court./With Reporter Victor Anthony V. Silva
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