MCC v. Ssangyong

September 15, 2017 | Pengarang: Hana Chrisna C. Ruga | Kategori: Pro Forma, Fax, Electronic Data Interchange, Information, Technology
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Penerangan

MCC INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION vs. SSANGYONG CORPORATION Nachura, J. (2007)

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Petitioner MCC Industrial Sales (MCC), a domestic corporation with office at Binondo, Manila, is engaged in the business of importing and wholesaling stainless steel products. One of its suppliers is the Ssangyong Corporation (Ssangyong), an international trading company with head office in Seoul, South Korea and regional headquarters in Makati City, Philippines. The two corporations conducted business through telephone calls and facsimile or telecopy transmissions. Ssangyong would send the pro forma invoices containing the details of the steel product order to MCC; if the latter conforms thereto, its representative affixes his signature on the faxed copy and sends it back to Ssangyong, again by fax. In 2000, Ssangyong Manila Office sent, by fax, a letter addressed to Gregory Chan, MCC Manager [also the President of Sanyo Seiki Stainless Steel Corporation], to confirm MCC's and Sanyo Seiki's order of 220 metric tons of hot rolled stainless steel under a preferential rate of US$1,860.00 per MT. Chan, on behalf of the corporations, assented and affixed his signature on the conforme portion of the letter. Ssangyong forwarded to MCC Pro Forma Invoice No. ST2-POSTSO401 containing the terms and conditions of the transaction. MCC sent back by fax to Ssangyong the invoice bearing the conformity signature of Chan. As stated in the pro forma invoice, payment for the ordered steel products would be made through an irrevocable letter of credit (L/C) at sight in favor of Ssangyong. Following their usual practice, delivery of the goods was to be made after the L/C had been opened. After a series of exchanges through fax, MCC failed to open a letter of credit. Consequently, on August 15, 2000, Ssangyong, through counsel, wrote Sanyo Seiki that if the L/C's were not opened, Ssangyong would be compelled to cancel the contract and hold MCC liable for damages for breach thereof. Later, Pro Forma Invoice Nos. ST2-POSTS080-1 and ST2-POSTS080-2 dated August 16, 2000 were issued by Ssangyong and sent via fax to MCC. The invoices slightly varied the terms of the earlier pro forma invoices (ST2-POSTSO401, ST2-POSTS0401-1 and ST2POSTS0401-2), in that the quantity was now officially 100MT per invoice and the price was reduced to US$1,700.00 per MT. As can be gleaned from the photocopies of the said August 16, 2000 invoices submitted to the court, they both bear the conformity signature of MCC Manager Chan. On August 17, 2000, MCC finally opened an L/C with PCIBank for US$170,000.00 covering payment for 100MT of stainless steel coil under Pro Forma Invoice No. ST2-POSTS0802. The goods covered by the said invoice were then shipped to and received by MCC MCC then faxed to Ssangyong a letter dated August 22, 2000 signed by Chan, requesting for a price adjustment of the order stated in Pro Forma Invoice No. ST2-POSTS080-1, considering that the prevailing price of steel at that time was US$1,500.00/MT, and that MCC lost a lot of money due to a recent strike. Ssangyong rejected the request, and, on August 23, 2000, sent a demand letter37 to Chan for the opening of the second and last L/C of US$170,000.00 with a warning that, if the said L/C was not opened by MCC on August 26, 2000, Ssangyong would be constrained to cancel the contract and hold MCC liable for US$64,066.99 Ssangyong through counsel wrote a letter to MCC, on September 11, 2000, canceling the sales contract under ST2-POSTS0401-1 /ST2-POSTS0401-2, and demanding payment of US$97,317.37. Ssangyong then filed, on November 16, 2001, a civil action for damages due to breach of contract against defendants MCC. Ssangyong alleged that defendants breached their contract when they refused to open the L/C in the amount of US$170,000.00 for the





remaining 100MT of steel under Pro Forma Invoice Nos. ST2-POSTS0401-1 and ST2POSTS0401-2. PETITIONER: The Pro-forma invoices with reference nos. ST2-POSTSO401-1 AND ST2POSTSO401-2 were inadmissible because they were mere photocopies of facsimile printouts. The photocopies of the pro forma invoices presented by respondent Ssangyong to prove the perfection of their supposed contract of sale are inadmissible in evidence and do not fall within the ambit of R.A. No. 8792, because the law merely admits as the best evidence the original fax transmittal. RESPONDENTS: the printout copies and/or photocopies of facsimile or telecopy transmissions were properly admitted by the trial court because they are considered original documents under R.A. No. 8792. From a reading of the law and the Rules on Electronic Evidence, the original facsimile transmittal of the pro forma invoice is admissible in evidence since it is an electronic document and, therefore, the best evidence under the law and the Rules.

Issue: Whether the print-out and/or photocopies of facsimile transmissions are electronic evidence and admissible as such Held: No. Ratio: The Court determined first whether the said fax transmissions are indeed within the coverage of R.A. No. 8792 before ruling on whether the photocopies thereof are covered by the law. •







R.A. No. 8792, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, considers an electronic data message or an electronic document as the functional equivalent of a written document for evidentiary purposes. The Rules on Electronic Evidence regards an electronic document as admissible in evidence if it complies with the rules on admissibility prescribed by the Rules of Court and related laws, and is authenticated in the manner prescribed by the said Rules. An electronic document is also the equivalent of an original document under the Best Evidence Rule, if it is a printout or output readable by sight or other means, shown to reflect the data accurately. Thus, to be admissible in evidence as an electronic data message or to be considered as the functional equivalent of an original document under the Best Evidence Rule, the writing must foremost be an "electronic data message" or an "electronic document." The Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 defines electronic data message and electronic document as follows: o Electronic Data Message" refers to information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic, optical or similar means. o f. "Electronic Document" refers to information or the representation of information, data, figures, symbols or other modes of written expression, described or however represented, by which a right is established or an obligation extinguished, or by which a fact may be proved and affirmed, which is received, recorded, transmitted, stored, processed, retrieved or produced electronically. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 8792, which was signed on July 13, 2000 by the then Secretaries of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Budget and Management, and then Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, defines the terms as: o (e) "Electronic Data Message" refers to information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic, optical or similar means, but not limited to, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram, telex or telecopy. Throughout these Rules, the term "electronic data message" shall be equivalent to and be used interchangeably with "electronic document." o (h) "Electronic Document" refers to information or the representation of information, data, figures, symbols or other modes of written expression, described or however

represented, by which a right is established or an obligation extinguished, or by which a fact may be proved and affirmed, which is received, recorded, transmitted, stored, processed, retrieved or produced electronically. Throughout these Rules, the term "electronic document" shall be equivalent to and be used interchangeably with "electronic data message." • The phrase "but not limited to, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram, telex or telecopy" in the IRR's definition of "electronic data message" is copied from the Model Law on Electronic Commerce adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). While Congress deleted this phrase in the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, the drafters of the IRR reinstated it. The deletion by Congress of the said phrase is significant and pivotal. • Thus, when the Senate consequently voted to adopt the term "electronic data message,", it would not apply "to telexes or faxes, except computer-generated faxes, unlike the United Nations model law on electronic commerce." This term then, while maintaining part of the UNCITRAL Model Law's terminology of "data message," has assumed a different context, this time, consonant with the term "electronic record" in the law of Canada. It accounts for the addition of the word "electronic" and the deletion of the phrase "but not limited to, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram, telex or telecopy." • There is no question then that when Congress formulated the term "electronic data message," it intended the same meaning as the term "electronic record" in the Canada law. This construction of the term "electronic data message," which excludes telexes or faxes, except computer-generated faxes, is in harmony with the Electronic Commerce Law's focus on "paperless" communications and the "functional equivalent approach. • Facsimile transmissions are not, in this sense, "paperless," but verily are paper-based. • A facsimile machine scanner converts the content of a physical document into a digital image, the modem sends the image data over a phone line, and the printer at the other end makes a duplicate of the original document. • Accordingly, in an ordinary facsimile transmission, there exists an original paperbased information or data that is scanned, sent through a phone line, and re-printed at the receiving end. Be it noted that in enacting the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, Congress intended virtual or paperless writings to be the functional equivalent and to have the same legal function as paper-based documents. • Since a facsimile transmission is not an "electronic data message" or an "electronic document," and cannot be considered as electronic evidence by the Court, with greater reason is a photocopy of such a fax transmission not electronic evidence. In the present case, therefore, Pro Forma Invoice Nos. ST2-POSTS0401-1 and ST2-POSTS0401-2 (Exhibits "E" and "F"), which are mere photocopies of the original fax transmittals, are not electronic evidence, contrary to the position of both the trial and the appellate courts.

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