MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) granted an appeal filed by actor Aga Muhlach and his manager to nullify a lower court decision that ordered them to pay more than PHP7 million in damages due to breach of contract.
The CA Third Division “extinguished” all obligations of Muhlach and talent manager Ethelwolda Ramos of the management firm AMC Entertainment with Pacific Asian Advertising Specialist, Inc. (PAASI) in a 28-page decision written by Associate Justice Pablito Perez on January 11 and made public online Monday.
PAASI had contracted AMC in 2009 for Muhlach to promote aesthetics company Marie France for Men's weight loss program for PHP10 million, with PHP6.5 million paid before the legal row started.
From March 8, 2010 when the contract was signed, Muhlach was recorded to have lost 32 inches in body width and weighed 182 pounds from a starting point of 190 pounds.
PAASI later sued Muhlach after it discovered that the actor said in interviews that his weight loss was the result of gym workout sessions and minimized food intake.
The Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 59 rescinded the talent contract and ordered AMC Entertainment and Muhlach to compensate PAASI for damages.
In reversing and setting aside the Makati court's decision, the CA said Muhlach "was not in material breach of the talent contract", noting among other things that reports that he had been seen working out in a gym in violation of his talent contract were hearsay.
The CA said the talent contract plainly states that Muhlach had the affirmative obligation to undergo weight-loss treatments “three to five times a week during the first phase and at least once a week during the succeeding phases to maintain his ideal weight of ____ pounds”.
The talent contract does not specify where Muhlach would undergo treatment nor was he required to exclusively undergo treatments at Marie France, the CA decision stated.
"All things considered, leaving the parties where they are is the most equitable resolution of this dispute," the CA ruled. “The parties failed to agree on a desired outcome, whether it was of Muhlach's weight or physique. His weight/height profile of the talent contract was left blank by AMC.” (PNA)