31 January 2020
Statement to the Press:
REYNO TIU DOMINGO & SANTOS
This is to address the press statements of Atty. Lorna Kapunan involving Nadine Lustre
and her Exclusive Agency and Management Agreement with VIVA Artists Agency, Inc.
At the outset, we share Atty. Kapunan’s position that the court of law is the proper forum
to discuss the validity of Nadine’s Agreement with VIVA, not through innuendos and
press statements. Nevertheless, we deem it necessary to clarify the statements of Atty.
Kapunan, which aim to discredit and malign the reputation and good will of VIVA.
This is not a David versus Goliath scenario as portrayed by Atty. Kapunan. Neither is
this a situation where artists are taken advantage of by a talent management company.
Rather, this matter is about respect – respect for the law, respect for contractual
commitments, and good faith in professional relationships.
The Agreement that Nadine entered into with VIVA is valid and subsisting. Under this
Agreement, VIVA acts as the sole and exclusive agent and manager of Nadine to develop,
advance, and promote her as a performing artist. At the time Nadine executed her first
Agreement with VIVA in 2009, she was assisted by her parents. Thereafter, Nadine
executed subsequent contracts with VIVA to extend their Exclusive Agency and
Management Agreement until June 2029. All the elements of a valid contract are present
in Nadine’s Agreement, namely: consent of the parties; object certain, which is the subject
matter of the contract; and cause of the obligation which is established.
Atty. Kapunan claims that Nadine’s Agreement with VIVA is a simple contract of agency
that may be revoked by Nadine at any time. This is false.
The Agreement between Nadine and VIVA created reciprocal obligations between the
parties. VIVA, as Nadine’s exclusive agent and manager was obligated to develop,
nurture, and promote Nadine’s career as a performing artist. This required VIVA to
invest their time, resources, and good will to hone Nadine’s talent and build her
reputation. This included investing in workshops, training her talents, pairing her with
an equally popular actor in a love team, producing movies and preparing her for roles
that will showcase her skills as an actress, among others. As a result of VIVA’s efforts,
Nadine is one of the most sought-after actresses in her generation.
On the other hand, Nadine as VIVA’s exclusive talent is obligated to abide by the terms
of her Agreement. This requires Nadine to appear in tapings, shows, and events; to
perform roles in movies which she agreed to do; to coordinate with VIVA on projects and
endorsements that would advance her career; among others.
Thus, the Agreement between Nadine and VIVA is for the mutual benefit of both parties.
Nadine benefitted as VIVA built and established her career in showbusiness appearing
in countless shows, events, and movies, while VIVA received compensation to recover
their investments in Nadine and earn a profit. The Supreme Court, in the recent case of
International Exchange Bank v. Spouses Briones said that “when an agency is established for
both the principal and the agent [meaning it is for their mutual benefit], an agency
coupled with an interest is created and the principal cannot revoke the agency at will”
(G.R. No. 205657, March 29, 2017). Accordingly, Atty. Kapunan’s theory that Nadine’s
contract is a simple agency is mistaken.
The applicable Civil Code provision is Article 1927 which states that an agency cannot be
revoked by the principal if a bilateral contract depends upon it. Nadine cannot simply
turn her back on her contractual commitments after she received benefits as a VIVA
In performing their functions, VIVA acted in good faith and with Nadine’s welfare and
best interest in mind. Thus, Atty. Kapunan’s claim that Nadine’s Agreement with VIVA
is unconscionable and oppressive is unfounded. On the contrary, as discussed above,
Nadine’s Agreement with VIVA is mutually beneficial. Similar to other VIVA artists and
talents, Nadine built and established her career through VIVA. To be fair to VIVA, the
termination of Nadine’s Agreement should be mutually agreed upon. Otherwise, they
should go to court to litigate this matter.
We likewise take exception to Atty. Kapunan’s claim that VIVA has taken advantage of
young artists for the longest time. This accusation is malicious and unjustified.
VIVA established its business on trust and fairness. The talents developed by VIVA that
turned into stars in the industry are countless. VIVA’s roster of artists, past and present,
is a testament to its reputation in the industry and it will not allow its goodwill to be
tarnished by conjectures and motherhood statements not supported by facts.
We likewise clarify Atty. Kapunan’s statement that we, as VIVA’s counsel, did not
respond to her letters regarding Nadine. Atty. Kapunan alleges that we “waited in
ambush to malign Nadine and harass third parties”. These statements are false and
The truth is that we responded to Atty. Kapunan’s letter. We have the letter bearing the
stamp of Atty. Kapunan’s law office showing that they received it on 21 October 2019. In
fact, Atty. Kapunan replied to our letter on 04 November 2019, thus belying her claim
that we ignored her communications.
Furthermore, it must be noted that after Atty. Kapunan’s letters to VIVA, Nadine signed
several contracts with VIVA inconsistent with Atty. Kapunan’s claim that Nadine has
revoked her Agreement. Nadine performed these contracts and this shows her intention
to honor her obligations under her Agreement with VIVA. However, it appears that
Nadine is being induced to violate her contractual commitments – an act definitive of
tortious interference, which Atty. Kapunan falsely accuses VIVA of committing.
We must likewise clarify a certain claim that third parties are not affected by the
Agreement between Nadine and VIVA as the same is supposedly a personal contract or
an “in personam contract”. This is inaccurate.
Under the law, third parties directly dealing with Nadine may be found liable for tortious
interference. The fact that these third parties are not privy to Nadine and VIVA’s
Agreement does not preclude a cause of action against them. If these third parties directly
transact with Nadine knowing that she is an exclusive talent of VIVA, they are dealing in
bad faith and that is an actionable wrong. Furthermore, if a third party enters into a
contract directly with Nadine, notwithstanding the subsistence and validity of her
Agreement, this contract is deemed null and void under the law.
At bottom, VIVA is not harassing or maligning Nadine as claimed by her lawyer. Neither
is VIVA interfering with third parties in directly dealing with Nadine. Rather, VIVA is
merely seeking to enforce its rights under the law and under the Agreement that Nadine
knowingly entered into and benefited from.