High Court Rules That Use of Empty Bottles Is Legal
Byline: REY G. PANALIGAN
The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that the use of empty marked bottles as containers of food seasonings such as "bagoong" and "patis" is legal because the law exempts their use by either large, medium, or small-scale producers of native products.
In a decision written by Justice Minita V. Chico Nazario, the SC affirmed the Court of Appeals (CA) ruling that upheld the trial court in directing Twin Ace Holdings Corp. to return to Rufina and Company 26,241 empty bottles marked "Tanduay Distillery, Inc."
Dismissing the petition of Twin Ace, the SC said:
"We find and so hold that the exemption contained in Section 6 of Republic Act No. 623 applies to all manufacturers of 'sisi,' 'bagoong,' and 'patis' and similar native products without distinction or qualification as to whether they are small, medium or large scale.
"Wherefore, premises considered, the instant petition is denied for lack of merit and the decision dated Sept. 27, 2002 and resolution dated Sept. 29, 2003, in CA GR CV No. 52852, both of the Court of Appeals, are affirmed."
Twin Ace is a corporation engaged in the manufacture of rhum, wines, and liquor under the name and style "Tanduay Distillers." It has registered its mark with the government and in the conduct of its business, it sells its products to the public excluding the bottles.
Rufina and Company, on the other hand, is engaged in the production, extraction, fermentation, and manufacture of 'patis' and other food seasonings and uses as containers for its products the bottles owned by Twin Ace it purchased from junk dealers.
In 1992, the Manila regional trial court (RTC) issued a writ directing the seizure from Rufina of 26,241 empty bottles of Tanduay. …