ABS-CBN wants judge to inhibit in Willie Revillame case

December 13, 2010

The camp of ABS-CBN on Monday filed an urgent motion with the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City seeking an early resolution of its previous pleas for Judge Luisito Cortez to inhibit himself from hearing the legal dispute between the network and Willie Revillame.

The legal battle began when the actor moved to ABC TV5 and sued ABS-CBN for judicial confirmation of rescission of his talent contract.

In its petition, the Kapamilya network noted the “numerous conflicting orders and resolutions” handed down by Judge Cortez.

It also cited an “undisclosed relationship” between the spouse of Cortez, lawyer Angelita Ortega Cortez, and ABC 5 president Ray Espinosa.

Ms Cortez and Espinosa worked in the same law firm in the past.

The lawyers argued that this “hidden fact” that had been recently discovered gives rise to a conflict of interest situation for Judge Cortez.

“Espinosa’s relationship with the spouse of [Judge Cortez] gives rise to the question of whether such relationship was taken advantage of [in the case] given the manner [Judge Cortez] handled the case to favor plaintiff Revillame and prejudice ABS-CBN,” the motion stated.

Judge Cortez previously declined to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by ABS-CBN against the actor performing work for ABC TV5. He required Revillame to post a P426-million bond to answer for the damages being claimed by his former station for breach of his talent contract.

ABS-CBN previously complained that after the denial of the TRO, Judge Cortez “shut down his court to defendant ABS-CBN’s urgent application of injunctive relief, giving Espinosa, ABC and plaintiff Revillame a sigh of relief.”

ABS-CBN also charged Judge Cortez with bias and partiality for approving the P426-million bond posted by Revillame, which purportedly contained the actor’s “forged signature.”

In support of the charge, a side-by-side comparison of the actor’s signatures was presented in court to show the signature of Revillame on the bond “does not even remotely look like” his other signatures in documents previously submitted to the court.

The network said that the submission of the bond with a forged signature is “perjury” and “falsification of commercial document.”

If the forgery is proven, Revillame can face criminal charges involving penalties of up to 12 years of imprisonment.

This is in addition to the other lawsuits the actor is already facing since he moved to a different station bringing “Wowowee” with him.




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