MALACANANG STEPS IN AS IBC OFFICERS RESIGN OVER PBA TV COVERAGE

MALACANANG, OCTOBER 31, 2003 (STAR) By Marichu Villanueva - Malacañang stepped yesterday into the intramurals within the Board of Directors at the sequestered International Broadcasting Corp. (IBC) Channel 13 over the reported failure of its marketing arm to remit P70 million payment of the TV station’s shares in the receipts of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games.

The PBA games are co-aired by IBC-13 and the government—run Nation Broadcasting Network (NBN) Channel 4.

The problem stemmed over the alleged repeated failure of Summit Sports World Corp., the private marketing arm of the PBA games, to pay IBC-13 accumulated P70 million it owes to the TV station.

Press Secretary Milton Alingod told The Star yesterday he has to look into the IBC-13 "problems" after being informed about the en masse resignation tendered by the nine-man Board of Channel 13 chaired by Atty. Lincoln Tan and its president, Atty. Renato Bello.

The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), headed by Alingod, has oversight functions over the sequestered TV station, like all other sequestered media entities like Channel 9 and Journal Publications, which were actually under the supervision of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Asset Privatization Trust (APT).

"There are a lot of problems at IBC-13 but these have to be resolved by the PCGG and their Board. Masyadong masalimuot ang problema nila doon," Alingod told The STAR.

"I am trying to get into the bottom of these things," Alingod said.

As far as he knows, Alingod said, the resignations of the IBC-13 Board officials have been "held in abeyance" pending the results of the inquiry into these problems, one of which included this uncollected P70 million from the Sports Summit.

All the initial facts of the case he has gotten, Alingod said, came from Evangeline Valbuena, executive vice president (EVP) of IBC-13, and who is currently the officer-in-charge while Bello was on leave for the All Saints’ Day holiday period.

"I have not gotten the version of the other side yet," Alingod said.

The board members of the IBC-13 were presidential appointees nominated to the PCGG as fiscal agents of the sequestered TV station.

Aside from Bello and Tan, the other members of the IBC-13 board are Espie Vibas; Philip Ella-Juico; Lauro Vizconde; Joselito Yabut; Andy Vitalicio; PCGG commissioner Ruben Carranza; and Benh Velarde, representing the stockholdings of the El Shaddai group of Bro. Mike Velarde.

Reached by The STAR yesterday, Valbuena said, the issue of non-payment to the IBC-13 of the PBA games coverage was just one of the many problems of IBC-13.

As EVP representing the management side, Valbuena said, she has repeatedly called the attention of the IBC Board about the accumulated non-remittance by Summit Sports of their obligations to the TV station which have been "due and demandable" as early as February this year.

Valbuena said she has sent collection notices to Summit Sports president Fidel Cu who ignored the demand letters.

"As early as July this year, I raised the alert to the Board that Summit Sports owes IBC-13 already as much a P50 million and has breached the P50 million mark," Valbuena told The Star.

What worried her, Valbuena said, was the fact that Summit Sports, as she checked records from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has only P50 million capitalization and about P3 million in paid-up capital.

"And under our laws, you can collect only as much as the capitalization base of that company should it close down," she pointed out.

PBA slams TV network for pullout By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 10/31/2003

The Philippine Basketball Association strongly protested yesterday IBC-13’s decision to discontinue its coverage of the PBA games, saying it will not tolerate the network’s breach of their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

"Under the MOA, the PBA is not under any obligation to pay IBC-13 airtime, and any agreement therefore is between NBN and IBC-13 and should not in any way affect the simulcast of PBA games," said PBA finance director Ricky Palou in a letter to the NBN and IBC top honchos.

"We enjoin both NBN and IBC-13 to settle whatever differences they have between each other in a manner that will not impair the continued simulcast of PBA games on IBC-13. The continued breach of the simulcast agreement for reasons solely attributable to NBN and IBC-13 will result in damages to the PBA," Palou added.

Palou made the protest in behalf of league commissioner Noli Eala who is in Japan as one of the special guests of NBA commissioner David Stern in the NBA opening games in Tokyo.

IBC-13 stopped its coverage of the PBA games Wednesday as it decided to pull out from its partnership with NBN and financier Summit Sports World without getting payment for its airtime now amounting to P70.8 million.

But the PBA stressed neither NBN nor IBC-13 had the right to cut-off the simulcast as they agreed upon in their contract.

"The simulcast of PBA games on NBN and IBC-13 was one of the major reasons why the PBA extended to NBN and IBC-13 the television and broadcast rights for a three-year period," said Palou.

"It would be well for NBN and IBC-13 to consider all possible avenues to resolve whatever differences they have, without further jeopardizing the PBA’s interest, as it had been jeopardized last Wednesday," Palou also said.

If IBC-13 doesn’t resume its airing of the PBA games, the PBA board is likely to discuss its course of action in its meeting Tuesday.

NBN and IBC-13 gained the broadcast rights of the PBA by offering a P200-million deal this year and a unique parallel coverage, outbidding Viva Vintage and another group led by RFM Corp. president Joey Concepcion.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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