Jude Turcuato, left, Solar Sports marketing manager, stresses a point on Manny Pacquiao contract dispute during a press conference yesterday. Others in photo are lawyers Ricky dela Cruz Jr., Joseph Sagandoy, Lani David and Stephen David. JUN MENDOZA]

MANILA, MARCH 21, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao yesterday dared Solar Sports to open its financial record books for his immediate inspection as he cut short the excitement behind the news that came out earlier in the day that all’s well between them.

In a letter addressed to Solar Sports owner Wilson Tieng, Pacquiao said his long-time media partner has yet to show him the complete financial records pertinent to all his previous fights.

“To date, I have not seen any of your records by which you base all your payments to me. I am sure that you will find nothing objectionable to having your financial records open,” said Pacquiao.

But Solar, through its legal counsel Enrique dela Cruz Jr., has declined.

“Mr. Pacquiao should have sought these financial records before he announced that he has rescinded his contract with Solar. We won’t open it for him,” said Dela Cruz.

“He will only see the records if we are in court. He claimed that Solar was late in payment. It means he has his own records. He can use them and we will use ours to prove otherwise,” said Dela Cruz.

The letter that was sent to Solar was dated March 19 (Los Angeles time) and carried Pacquiao’s signature.

“My position is still the same. Watch my fight with Ricky Hatton at ABS-CBN,” Pacquiao said in a feed from LA.

Tieng left last night for Los Angeles, accompanied by Solar COO Peter Chanliong, to meet Pacquiao personally, and hope that they find an end to the brewing controversy.

Solar claimed it doesn’t owe Pacquiao anything under their contract that is valid from May 2007 until May 2011. Plans of filing a P150 million case against Pacquiao and ABS-CBN for damages are on hand.

Pacquiao, who is in LA training for his May 2 fight with Ricky Hatton, said he is sending his representatives to the Solar office in Makati to check on the records with “all due courtesy and without delay.”

The Solar lawyer stressed that Pacquiao should have sought the records before he announced last Monday that he has rescinded the valid contract, and decided to rejoin ABS-CBN.

Dela Cruz said Pacquiao can only back out of that contract if there was a breach incapable of any remedy. And if there was one, he should have given Solar a 15-day notice.

And if a remedy is unavailable, another 30-day notice is needed before the contract is finally rescinded.

Atty. Joseph Sagandoy, also of Solar, believes that Pacquiao rescinded the contract because he was “misled or misguided that Solar had committed a breach.”

“The fact is Solar has complied and therefore there is no valid ground to rescind the agreement,” said Sagandoy of the contract where Solar was to pay Pacquiao P60 million for each title fight and P55 million for each non-title fight.

Also under the contract, Pacquiao should receive 25 percent of the total 10 days after the signing, another 25 percent 15 days before the fight and the remaining 50 percent a week before the fight.

Then 21 days after the fight, Pacquiao also stands to receive five percent of the gross earnings from Solar. Last Monday, Pacquiao received P15 million from Solar.

Dela Cruz said Pacquiao even made advances from Jan. 24 this year to March 16. These were advances that Solar was not obliged or was not required to give to the boxer.

Yesterday morning, The STAR contacted Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, and got the impression that the Pinoy icon has already decided to stick it out with Solar.

“Manny must have realized that he already has a deal with Solar so he can’t make another deal. Everything is going to be okay,” said Arum from his Las Vegas home.

“It’s not right to make a deal with one company and make the same deal with another. I talked to some people and they were all on the same page,” said Arum.

Pacquiao, however, did not back up Arum’s statements and instead called for Solar to open its financial records for his immediate inspection.

It was not clear whether Pacquiao had signed a new contract with ABS-CBN on their renewed partnership although the station has officially welcomed the boxer back in its giant fold.

Yesterday, ABS-CBN said it understands GMA-7’s disappointment over losing Pacquiao, then urged its rival to avoid fanning speculations that the issue had something to do with the 2010 elections.

“It alleges that ABS-CBN’s supremacy in reach is to be used for Manny Pacquiao’s (2010) political plans – which is not true,” said the ABS-CBN statement to the media.

It also said that the Pacquiao fight against Hatton being aired on ABS-CBN will not violate the boxer’s contract with GMA-7 where he has two existing shows.

“Manny’s fights are not programs, shows, promotion, or events of ABS-CBN. As the media partner of Manny Pacquiao, the Kapamilya network will only be airing Pacquiao’s boxing matches that will be produced by Top Rank.”

The Lopez network also said there is no basis for Solar to take legal action because Pacquiao had already rescinded the contract before it approached ABS-CBN.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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