MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals has quashed with finality the P100 million civil suit GMA Network Inc. filed against ABS-CBN Corp.
In a 2-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Florito Macalino, the former 6th division of the appellate court denied GMA’s motion for reconsideration for failing to raise new arguments to reverse an original decision on August 15.
The civil suit was filed after ABS-CBN accused its rival network of stealing footage on the arrival of Iraqi hostage victim Angelo de la Cruz in 2004.
“Acting on the said motion, the Court finds no cogent reason to warrant reconsideration of the said decision. The motion has not raised any new or substantial ground or reason that would call for the countermanding of the Court's ruling," the resolution read.
"Accordingly, there is no justifying circumstance that would sanction the reversal of the decision," it added.
Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Juan Enriquez and Ramon Bato Jr.
The case goes back to the July 24, 2004 coverage of the arrival of the former Iraqi hostage at the Ninoy International Airport. ABS-CBN broadcast live footage of the arrival of de la Cruz and the subsequent press conference.
Based on their existing agreement, ABS-CBN’s news coverage was also carried by Reuters Television Service with the condition that any footage will be considered by the latter as "embargo" against use by its other subscribers in the country.
GMA, a subscriber of Reuters and CNN, received and immediately used the live video feed beamed by Reuters from the NAIA.
After the incident, GMA Network claimed that ABS-CBN aired a report of the incident in its news programs and defamatory statements were made against them. GMA filed a complaint-affidavit in 2004 charging ABS-CBN and its executives with libel.
In a resolution issued on December 3, 2004, the complaint for libel was dismissed by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City for lack of probable cause. The Department of Justice denied GMA's appeal, although a motion for reconsideration of the denial is still pending.
The trial court later reinstated the civil case for damages but suspended such, pending the disposition of the criminal case for libel.
On August 15, the appellate court ruled that the trial court violated the rules of court when it reinstated the civil suit.