MANILA The Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC), which found TV actress Rosanna Osang Roces liable for breach of contract after she issued several malicious statements against a popular aesthetic clinic in 2004 and was ordered to pay PHP3.1 million in damages.
In a 14page decision dated June 6 penned by Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr., and concurred by Associate Justices Ramon Cruz and Pablito Perez, the CA's 11th Division affirmed the decision issued by the QC RTC Branch 220, which ruled in favor of the breach of contract and damages complaint filed by Forever Flawless Face and Body Center against Roces (Jennifer Molina in real life).
In upholding the trial court's decision, the CA did not give credence to Roces' claim that she did not consent to the execution of the deed of sale despite admitting that she signed the document and received PHP1.5 million as payment.
Roces even said that her signature on the third page of the deed of sale was forged.
It is wellsettled that forgery cannot be presumed. It must be proved by clear, positive and convincing evidence, the CA pointed out.
It agreed with the findings of the trial court that mere variance of the signatures cannot be considered as conclusive proof that the same was forged.
It bears stressing that the stipulation in the deed of sale is specific and clear that Molina is only prohibited from maligning or discrediting Forever Flawless, Inc., its services, products, stockholders, directors, and officers, the CA ruled.
Contrary to Roces' claim, the appellate court said the stipulation in the deed of sale is not a gag order since the actress was not barred from airing her grievances against Flawless in the proper forum and with sufficient evidence.
A gossip show, however, is obviously not the proper forum in this case, the CA added.
As correctly held by the RTC, fundamental is the principle that a contract is the law between parties. Absent any showing that its provisions are contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy, it should be enforced to the letter, the CA explained.
Prior to the controversy, Roces obtained 2,500 shares from Forever Flawless in exchange for her promoting, endorsing, marketing and advertising services.
Subsequently, Roces endorsed the clinic's services and products, including treatments by wellknown celebrity doctor Victoria Vicki Belo, a consultant and also the president and chairperson of the Belo Medical Group, Inc.
In 2003, Roces decided to sell and Forever Flawless agreed to buy her shares for PHP1.5 million.
A deed of sale was later signed by both parties with the condition that Roces will not malign or discredit the company, its services, products and its stockholders and officers.
The deed of sale also stipulated that Roces would have to pay PHP1 million for each infraction of the contract.
However, Forever Flawless was forced to file a complaint against Roces after she appeared in various television interviews accusing Belo of conducting flawed liposuction procedure.
Roces also branded Belo as a mere aerobics instructor and unethical doctor for having printed pictures of her buttocks without her permission.
She also claimed that many of the clients and customers of Forever Flawless suffered burned faces and skin and even suggested that its products and services are injurious to customers. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency