The Mandaluyong City regional trial court on Monday lifted the attachment and garnishment order on ABS-CBN Corp. and Sky Cable Corp. which the court issued last week in connection with the collection complaint of Solar Entertainment Corp.
The court earlier issued an order to garnish the bank accounts and other assets of ABS-CBN and cable affiliate Sky Cable for allegedly airing the BTV and NBA Premium TV channels of Solar Entertainment without paying the carriage fees for about three years.
ABS CBN and Sky Cable said they received an ex-parte writ of attachment and notice of garnishment from the court on May 25 but they filed a motion to lift the order in the morning of May 29, which the court granted on the same day.
“Thus, at this time, there is no effective attachment or garnishment over any asset of ABS-CBN or Sky Cable,” the two companies led by the Lopez family said in a statement.
ABS-CBN and Sky Cable said they signed a license agreement with NBA Properties Inc. in 2014. “Since ABS-CBN was paying 60 percent of the license fees, it considered that the same already covered the carriage fees of Sky Cable. Unfortunately, Solar disagreed. Despite the good faith attempts of ABS-CBN and Sky Cable to resolve the dispute amicably, Solar cut off the NBA feed to Sky Cable and filed this complaint,” the broadcast network said.
The garnishment order, signed by Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio also required Solar, the local distributor of NBA games and programs over the past 16 years, to post a bond for P659 million, the amount it was trying to collect.
“It needs to be stressed herein that the expiration of the channel carriage agreements and the execution of the television license agreement with NBA did not relieve Sky Cable of its obligation to pay channel carriage fees. The basis of the channel carriage fees is Sky Cable’s continuous airing of NBA Premium TV and BTV which was tolerated by Solar,” the court said.
“This created an implied contract between the two. ABS-CBN in collusion with Sky Cable had no intention to pay such channel carriage fees as their objective is to become the exclusive licensee of NBA, thereby gaining full control and exclusive rights to the broadcast of NBA games in the Philippines,”the court said.
Solar said in a statement that Sky Cable continued to air and make money on the NBA shows using Solar’s own channels, BTV and NBA Premium, although its carriage contract ended in 2014.
Solar continued to feed its two channels and to bill Sky Cable, believing there was an “implied renewal,” an industry practice to prevent a sudden blackout of TV channels and a service disruption to subscribers, it said.
Sky Cable also stopped paying the carriage fees of Destiny and Unicable that had their own contracts with Solar before they were acquired by Sky Cable.
Solar stopped its NBA feeds to Sky Cable in April, after several unheeded demand letters and realizing that Sky Cable was intent on not paying. Cable stations like Cignal, GSAT and Dream can carry Solar’s channels.