QC court: Nadine Lustre stays under contract with Viva for now

A Quezon City court ruled that singer and actress Nadine Lustre should still honor her contract with Viva Artists Agency (VAA). 

Regional Trial Court Branch 220 Judge Jose G. Paneda, in a resolution dated June 3 and signed on June 11, said Lustre should still follow her contract with Viva signed in 2014. 

Lustre was also ordered by the court to “cease and desist” from entering into new work contracts as artist or endorser and from fulfilling deals she’s already signed “without Viva’s consent and participation.”

Paneda also said Lustre should “honor and uphold her contractual obligations to VAA under the subject agreement before and during arbitration.” Arbitration refers to the resolution of a dispute – in this case, between Lustre and VAA over her contract. Viva, in turn, must post a P500,000-bond before the court. 

Paneda, however, denied Viva’s request for a writ of preliminary attachment and/or writ of garnishment. This means Lustre will keep her assets equivalent to the amount that Viva is claiming under the supposed breach of their contract. 

Lustre had announced in early 2020 that she was terminating her contract with Viva and that she would be “self-managed.” In December 2020, Viva sued Nadine for allegedly violating their agreement. 

The singer-actress, through her legal team, welcomed the suit, saying it would show how Viva was supposedly being “predatory, oppressive, and abusive” against her and its other talents. 

In a statement to media, Lustre's lawyer Lorna Kapunan said, “Nadine has fulfilled and continues to respect the prior contracts with Third parties even after she terminated the Agreement with Viva for various material breach committed by Viva.” 

Kapunan also said they will be filing a motion for reconsideration on the status quo order, or the order telling Lustre to still follow her contract with Viva. 

“Nadine will continue with her concert and pending contracts but Viva will be claiming their 40% commission. Viva will also be notified of future engagements of Nadine, pending the arbitrable issue of her termination of the Viva Agency/management Agreement,” Kapunan added. 

Contract history, disputes

Lustre and VAA first entered a contract in 2009, which was valid for five years until 2014. That contract was renewed later on, extending it to until June 29, 2029. This means that at the end of the existing contract, Lustre would have been under Viva’s management for about two decades.

Since announcing that she was now “self-managed,” Lustre has entered into contracts with several brands without Viva’s involvement. Viva is arguing that’s Lustre’s actions and her refusal to honor their contact has caused them “irreparable injury and losses.”  

Lustre, meanwhile, said she was not assisted by her parents, nor was she given a lawyer to help her understand her contract, when she first signed it in 2009. Lustre also claimed that VAA “took advantage of circumstances when [she] was not in a good condition and mindset to understand their contract.” 

The singer-actress also said the length of her Viva contract is because of a provision that gave “VAA the sole prerogative to extend or renew their contact.” The 2015 contract and a subsequent addendum could allegedly bind Lustre to VAA until 2034. Lustre also complained before the court about VAA’s 40% commission from all her work, as provided for by their contract. 

Lustre’s other claims against VAA include its supposed failure to “actively scout engagements,” failing to “prioritize her in giving projects,” and its supposed failure to “consider [her] educational welfare,” among others. 

She also claimed VAA did not consider her own “feelings and decision,” in the case of a deal with a watch brand. Nor did it supposedly protect the best interests of Lustre, such as in projects like Indak. The 2019 movie, Lustre’s counsel argued before the court, “caused the downfall of her hard-earned reputation in show business.”

Since leaving Viva unilaterally, Lustre has focused on her music career. She released Wildest Dreams in October 2020. – Rappler.com