THE fate of about 21 key personnel of Bantay Radyo Cebu is uncertain with the upcoming takeover by Cebu CFI Community Cooperative.
Emie Matis Gabito, the station’s news editor, said that the change of management will affect 15 technicians, three reporters and three administrative staff.
Gabito, former Madridejos town councilor, said that they have yet to receive a communication from Cebu Provincial Board (PB) Member Grecilda “Gigi” Sanchez-Zaballero, who manages the station.
Assisted by her lawyer Magnificus Cañete, Zaballero filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City in a bid to retain the management of Bantay Radyo.
She lodged the civil case for specific performance, damages, injunction with prayer for issuance of preliminary injunction against Cagayan de Oro-based Sarraga Integrated and Management (SIAM) Broadcast Corp.
The case was filed after SIAM signed a new contract with CFI Cooperative to manage El Nuevo Bantay Radyo starting Aug. 1.
The broadcast contract of Zaballero with the station will end on July 31.
The board member assumed the business interest from her late father, Cebu vice governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr.
CFI Cooperative was co-founded by retired judge Esperanza Garcia, whose family members are political rivals of Zaballero.
Zaballero started managing El Nuevo Bantay Radyo since 2002 and has renewed its contract since then.
Renewal of management
In her complaint, Zaballero said she went to Cagayan de Oro on March 17 and met with SIAM’s executives Luis and John Sarraga to confirm the renewal of management contract of Bantay Radyo.
Both parties verbally agreed to renew the contract and shook hands.
Zaballero said she deposited P700,000 as initial payment for the renewal of the contract.
Assured of the extension and signing of management contract, Zaballero said PAFI entered into an agreement with “third parties” for the purchase of radio block time.
When she returned from the United States, Zaballero, however, said she was shocked to receive a letter from SIAM that it would not renew their existing management contract.
SIAM informed Zaballero that it was signing a contract with CFI Cooperative for the management and operation of Bantay Radyo.
Zaballero said she tried to convince SIAM to renew their management contract, but the latter insisted on giving the contract to CFI Cooperative.
Zaballero believes that she is entitled to have their management contract with SIAM renewed pursuant to the terms and conditions that they already agreed on.
Zaballero said existing employees of the station will be displaced because of the “sudden, ill-advised decision” of SIAM.
She said the transfer of operation and management of Bantay Radyo would cause “enormous financial damage” and could spawn damage lawsuits from advertisers and block-time patrons against them.
Apart from a temporary restraining order, Zaballero also asked the court to order SIAM to pay her P500,000 as moral damages; P100,000 as attorney’s fees; and P100,000 as litigation expenses.