By Rey Panaligan
The Court of Appeals (CA) has ruled that actress Rosanna Roces is liable to pay P3.1 million in damages for breach of contract she signed with an aesthetic clinic in 2004.
In a decision written by Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr., the CA affirmed the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) which found Roces guilty of breach of contract and should pay damages to Forever Flawless Face and Body Center.
“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 said.
Roces, Jennifer Molina in real life and more popularly known in the showbiz circle as “Osang,” had obtained 2,500 shares from Forever Flawless in exchange for her promoting, endorsing, marketing, and advertising services.
She subsequently endorsed the clinic’s services and products, including the treatments done by Dr. Victoria “Vicki” Belo.
Later, Roces decided to sell her shares for P1.5 million and Forever Flawless agreed to buy them.
As a result, a deed of sale was signed with condition on the part of Roces that she would not malign or discredit Forever Flawless and its services, products, and its stockholders and officers. For every infraction of the agreement, Roces was mandated to pay P1 million.
Court records showed that Forever Flawless filed a complaint when Roces appeared in television interviews accusing Belo of conducting “flawed liposuction procedure.” She also described Belo as a mere aerobic instructor and an unethical doctor.
At the same time, the records showed that Roces claimed that Forever Flawless’ customers suffered burned faces and skin.
In her CA petition, Roces claimed she did not give her consent to the conditions in the deed of sale and that her signature on the third page of the document was a forgery.
But the CA junked Roces’ allegations. It said: “It is well-settled that forgery cannot be presumed. It must be proved by clear, positive and convincing evidence.”
It pointed out 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 (Roces) is only prohibited from maligning or discrediting Forever Flawless Inc., its services, products, stockholders, directors, and officers,” the CA said.
It explained that the stipulation in the deed of sale is not a gag order since Roces is 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,” it added.