Category: LATEST SUPREME COURT CASES


DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED. The October 1, 2013 Decision and June 30, 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR. SP No. 117835 are AFFIRMED.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE SUPREME COURT SAID THERE IS PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST PETITIONER FOR UNFAIR COMPETITION. HIS PRODUCT, A MEDICATED FACIAL CREAM SOLD TO THE PUBLIC IS CONTAINED IN THE SAME OVAL-SHAPED CONTAINER WHICH HAD THE MARK CHIN CHUN SU AS THAT OF RESPONDENT.

BUT PETITIONER INDICATED IN HIS LABEL THE NAME OF THE MANUFACTURER?

EVEN THEN. AN ORDINARY PURCHASER WOULD NOT NORMALLY INQUIRE ABOUT THE MANUFACTURER.

Here, petitioners’ product which is a medicated facial cream sold to the public is contained in the same pink oval-shaped container which had the mark “Chin Chun Su,” as that of respondent. While petitioners indicated in their product the manufacturer’s name, the same does not change the fact that it is confusingly similar to respondent’s product in the eyes of the public. As aptly found by the appellate court, an ordinary purchaser would not normally inquire about the manufacturer of the product. 55 Petitioners’ product and that solely distributed by respondent are similar in the following respects “l. both are medicated facial creams; 2. both are contained in pink, oval-shaped containers; and 3. both contain the trademark “Chin Chun Su” x x x The similarities far outweigh the differences. The general appearance of (petitioners’) product is confusingly similar to (respondent).”56 Verily, the acts complained of against petitioners constituted the offense of Unfair Competition and probable cause exists to hold them for trial, contrary to the findings ofRTC Branch 46.

WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF UNFAIR COMPETITION?

THEY ARE: CONFUSING SIMILARITY IN THE GENERAL APPEARANCE OF THE GOODS AND INTENT TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC AND DEFRAUD A COMPETITOR.

HOW TO DETERMINE CONFUSING SIMILARITY?

NOT NECESSARILY FROM THE MARKS BUT FROM OTHER FACTORS LIKE IN PACKAGING OR PRESENTATION OF THE GOODS?

HOW TO DETERMINE LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION?

BASED ON PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF EACH CASE.

HOW TO DETERMINE INTENT TO DECEIVE AND DEFRAUD?

FROM SIMILARITY OF THE APPEARANCE OF THE GOODS.

The essential elements of an action for unfair competlt10n are: (1) confusing similarity in the general appearance of the goods, and (2) intent to deceive the public and defraud a competitor. 52 The confusing similarity may or may not result from similarity in the marks, but may result from other external factors in the packaging or presentation of the goods. Likelihood of confusion of goods or business is a relative concept, to be determined only according to peculiar circumstances of each case. 53 The element of intent to deceive and to defraud may be inferred from the similarity of the appearance of the goods as offered for sale to the public.54

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DISPOSITIVE:

ACCORDINGLY, the Decision No. 2020-127 dated January 27, 2020 of the Commission on Audit is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner Bernadette Lourdes B. Abejo is ABSOLVED from solidary liability to return the entire disallowed amount, as well as from personal liability to return the excess amount she received under Notice of Disallowance No. 2012-002-101-(1 l) dated February 28, 2012.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

PETITIONER APPROVED AND GRANTED COLLECTIVE NEGOTIATIONS AGREEMENT (CNA) INCENTIVES  TO EMPLOYEES FROM AGENCY SAVINGS BEFORE END OF THE YEAR. THE DBM BUDGET CIRCULAR STATES THAT SUCH INCENTIVES SHALL BE GIVEN AT END OF THE YEAR. IS PETITIONER LIABLE FOR INCENTIVES PAID. SUPREME COURT SAID NO BECAUSE PETITIONER ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. THE DBM CIRCULAR ALSO STATES THAT THE GIVING OUT OF  INCENTIVES REQUIRES THAT PLANNED PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED AND THESE PROGRAMS WERE ACCOMPLISHED BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. PETITIONER THOUGHT THAT SINCE THE PROGRAMS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ACCOMPLISHED THE INCENTIVES CAN ALREADY BE PAID EVEN IF NOT AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

5.7. The CNA Incentive for the year shall be paid as a one-time benefit after the end of the year, provided that the planned programs/activities/projects have been implemented and completed in accordance with the performance targets of the year.

…………………..

To be sure, the present case bears striking similarity, if it is not in all fours with Montejo v. Commission on Audit.30 There, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) paid CNA Incentives in the middle of 2010 and 2011, and again at the end of the same year in 2010. Montejo claimed that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of DBM BC No. 2006-1. For although said issuance provides that the CNA Incentives should be granted after the end of the year, it was qualified by a provision that the grant shall be released only after the planned activities and projects of the concerned agency have been implemented in accordance with the performance targets for the year. As it was, the DOST had been submitting documents proving that they had achieved their targets and corresponding savings were generated. Thus, the grant of CNA Incentives was compliant with the proviso in Section 5.7 of DBM BC No. 2006-1, albeit payments were released twice in the middle of the year.

Though the Court rejected Montejo’s argument and upheld the notice of disallowance, as here, it nevertheless, excused Montejo from paying the disallowed amount, thus:

Petitioner’s erroneous interpretation of the DBM circular aside, the action of petitioner was indicative of good faith because he acted in an honest belief that the grant of the CNA Incentives had legal bases. It is unfair to penalize public officials based on overly stretched and strained interpretations of rules which were not that readily capable of being understood at the time such functionaries acted in good faith. Ifthere is any ambiguity, which is actually clarified years later, then it should only be applied prospectively. A contrary rule would be counterproductive.

Thus, although this Court considers the questioned Notices of Disallowance valid, this Court also considers it to be in the better interest of justice and prudence that petitioner, other officials concerned and the employees who benefited from the CNA Incentives be relieved of any personal liability to refund the disallowed amount. 31

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SC CASE 2021-0040: EDILBERTO “EDDlE” PINEDA, MARIA FRANCISCO, FLORENCIO M. MANARANG, ROLANDO “ROLAN” AQUINO, ERNESTO P. VlLLANUEV A, MERCEDES P. LACSINA, ANDRES A. FRANCISCO, BERNARDO V. GASTON, BASILIO A. ILANO, ADELAIDA VlLLANUEV A, EUl.,OGIO FRANCISCO, CRISANTO Q. AQUINO, EDUARDO P. NAVARRO, WILFR.EDO HJ UNI OR” c. CAPULOY, Jl::t., CHOLlTA P. SANTOS, ALVIN LUGTU, JOSE BALBOA, REYNAI,,DO •’REY” LUGTU, ESTRELITA “ESTER” C. LUG TU, l\1ELQUIADES MANARANG, OFRECINA PINEDA, RICARDO L. BALBOA, FILEMON F. FRANCISCO, PEDRO :F. FRANCISCO, CASTOR I. YUNUN, PEDRO P. UNGOS, LUDOVICO “RlJDY” P. UNGOS, VVILFREUO “\VILLY” BANDOLA, NOI(L ••NONONG” PA.LO, .n~sus rvt ‘FRANCISCO, EDUARDO “EDDH:’1 COLLADO, SONNY LACS!NA, FERNANDO “NANDY” COLLADO, BENJAMIN “AlvHN’~ DELA CRUZ, RJZALINO “RIZAL’~ lViAT]C, CEZAR RAMIREZ, GERHY GASTON, F.’.DUARDO FRANCISCO; ERNESTO TAYAG; NESTOR AQUINO, BER]~ AQUINO, A VELlNO lVfANUCDUC, ARNEL NA VARRO, GREGORIO EivL-\TA, ARTURO ZURBITO, LILIA DA YID, DOMINGO “BOND” CADIANG, ,JR., EDUARDO BALTAZAR, AMMONJO “AMON” DUMLAO, PEPITO Q. LUGTU, EDUARDO “EDDIE” PALO, DOMINGA PUNO, JOSEPH “JOSE” CORTEZ, BIENVENIDO BALBOA, ROSE MANQUJL, RO MEL BALBOA, ARSENIA PALO, WILFREDO “WILLY” FRANCISCO, CELADONIA VILLANUEVA, EMILIO GARCIA, ROLANDO “RO DON” MARCOS, JIMlVIY NAVARRO, JUANITO FRANCISCO, ERNESTO NAVARRO, MARINA JACINTO, ROLANDO LUGTU, JESUS JACINTO, CORNELIO GAMPOY, DAVID DANDAN, ORLANDO TABLANTE, NIDA SOLAMO, ABELARDO YUMUL, LAURO MALIG, ORLANDO DELA CRUZ, EFIFANIO* MAGAT, JR., CONRADO CASTRO, RODEL PA.LO, RODRIGO DELA CRUZ, EFREN DELA CRUZ, EV A CHAVEZ, ILDEFONSO “BOY” RAMOS, JR., MARIO DEQUlNON, NOLITO CARBUNGCO, CRISANTO** LAURONILLA, HENRY SANTOS, RODERICK UNGOS, LEANDO PENAREDONDO, BONIFACIO OJANO, SEVERO JAVIER, ROGER FAJARDO, SIANO COLLADO, ERLINDA TlMPUG, and ROYNALDO “ROY” DELA CRUZ,  VS. ABELARDO C. MIRANDA, ELIAS C. MIRANDA and CARMENCITA D. MIRANDA,  (G.R. No. 204997, AUGUST 4, 2021, HERNANDO, J.)  HERNANDO, J.) (SUBJECT/S: REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT AFTER 7 YEARS; FAILURE TO FILE APPEAL) (BRIEF TITLE: PINEDA ET AL VS MIRANDA ET AL)

DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision dated December 14, 2012 Decision of the Court of Appeals Fifteenth Division in CA-G.R. CV No. 97317 is AFFIRlVIED. The Decision dated May 17, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 42 of San Fernando, Pampanga in Civil Case No. 11757 which affirmed with modification the December 15, 1998 Decision of the Municipal Trial Court, Branch 3 of San Fernando, Pampanga in Civil Case No. 7463, a case for unlawful detainer, entitled Abelardo C. Miranda, et al. v. Eddie Pineda, et al., is hereby REVIVED.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THIS IS A CASE FOR UNLAWFUL DETAINER FILED AGAINST THE PETITIONERS AT MTC WHICH RULED IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENTS. APPEALED TO RTC WHICH AFFIRMED MTC DECISION. PETITIONERS DID NOT APPEAL THE RTC DECISION. 7 YEARS PASSED. RESPONDENTS FILED AT RTC FOR COMPLAINT TO REVIVE JUDMENT. PETITIONERS FILED SEVERAL MOTIONS AND APPEALS. SUPREME COURT SAID PETITIONERS’ REMEDY WAS APPEAL WHEN RTC PROMULGATED ITS DECISION. THEIR SUBSEQUENT MOTIONS AND APPEALS ARE WITHOUT LEGAL BASIS.

In this case, the RTC Branch 42 Decision dated May 17, 1999 became final and executory when no further kgal a,~tion was undertaken by herein petitioners concerning the RTC Branch 42 Decision. Thus, on January 6, 2000 or less than a year after the RTC Branch 42 Decision became final, respondents filed a 1\.1otion for the l,ssuance of a \Vrit of Execution. The Motion was granted on February 14, 2000. However, seven years later, the RTC Branch 42 Decision h~1d not yet been executed. Thus, on .May 9, 2006, the respondents filed a Complaint for Revival of Judgment in accordance with the above legal provisions. On the premise that the RTC Branch 42 Decision was already final and executory, respondents filed a revival suit as a procedural means of securing the execution of the RTC Branch 42 Decision which had become dormant after the passage of several years. The revival suit filed by respondents did not intend to re-open any issue affecting the merits of the case or the propriety or correctness of the first judgment.38, the ordinary remedy of appeal was still readily available as a proper

As for petitioners legal re.rnedy ath~r tlw RTC Bqmch 42 promulgated its Decision on May 17, 1999. l-lov;cver, instead of filing an ordinary appeal, petitioners filed the following motion and petitions throughout the course of the proceedings: (1) Motion to Quash Writ of Execution; (2) Petition for Annulment of Judgment; and (3) Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition.

FirstfJJ, the Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution was filed on the ground that the Writ of Execution cannot be enforced anymore because more than five years had elapsed since its issuance. 39 However, the Court notes that respondents’ Complaint for Revival of h1dgment was filed on May 9, 2006, two months before petitioners filed their ~1otion to Quash the Writ of Execution on July 20, 2006. Neither did petitioners show that there had been a change in the situation of the parties whtch makes tbe execution inequitable; or that the writ of execution was improperly issued, defective in substance, or is issued against the wrong party; or that the judgment debt had been paid or otherwise satisfied; or that the writ was issued without a,.uthority:10 Petitioners’ Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution was therefore groundless.

Secondly, petitioners’ Petition for Annulment of Judgment of both the MTC and R TC Decisions was correctly dismissed by the CA not only because it did not have jurisdiction over the Petition but also because it was not the proper legal remedy.

Rule 47, Sections 1 and 241 of the Rules of Court are clear. The remedy of annulment of judgment can only be availed of when the ordinary remedy of appeal, among others, is no longer available through no fault of the petitioners. Furthermore, the annulment may be based only on grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of j urisdiction which were clearly not present in this case.

Lastly, petitioners’ Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition filed with the CA was to compel the RTC to give due course to petitioners’ Notice of Appeal filed after the RTC granted respondents’ Complaint for Revival of Judgment. A Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition is only available when there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.42 Again, the Court reiterates that the ordinary remedy of appeal was easily available to petitioners when the RTC Branch 42 promulgated its l\1ay 1 7, 1999 Decision.

In the end, the Court finds that the CA correctly ruled that the RTC Branch 42 Decision can still be revived as the respondents properly filed a Complaint for Revival of Judgment in accordance with existing law and jurisprudence. The Court therefore instructs the RTC to execute Civil Case No. 11757 with deliberate dispatch.

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