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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 8, 2014

Why Actress-Producer Harlene Bautista Sued Director Dante Garcia For Qualified Theft

CURRENTLY IN THE news is Harlene Bautista, the actress-producer who sued production designer turned director Dante Nico Garcia for estafa. Folks are wondering as they used to be the best of friends. At the premiere night of “Kamkam (Greed)”, the acclaimed Joel Lamangan film that Harlene’s company, Heaven’s Best Entertainment, produced, Harlene admitted she used to be close with Dante, who directed “Ploning” starring Judy Ann Santos, also his friend, who produced it and which was even chosen as our country’s entry to the Oscar’s best foreign language film category in 2008. Juday also chose him to direct the comedy “My Girl” for Regal starring her and Ogie Alcasid, but it flopped dismally.

Harlene said she trusted Dante to do some projects for her more than two years ago and he made advances amounting to the tune of P15 million, but no project was completed. She was asking for the amount to be properly liquidated but he was not able to present any papers so Harlene sued him for qualified theft and falsification of corporate documents. Instead of settling things, he went home to his native Palawan, where he was eventually arrested. He was brought to Manila and was detained in Camp Caringal, but he was able to post bail for P1.4 million. Some quarters say it’s Judy Ann who advanced the money to pay for his bail, but she denies this vehemently.

Harlene said she was personally hurt by what Dante did to her because she trusted him so much, he being the godfather of one of her kids. She says she wants to give Dante a lesson. She’s enjoying being a producer now. “Exciting but it’s a learning experience for me. I’m hoping sana kumita itong ‘Kamkam’ dahil naka-A ito sa Cinema Evaluation and we’re very proud of the movie.”