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Jul 23, 2008

G.R. No. 150394, June 26, 2007

  • A principle of law which has been established by the decision of a court of controlling jurisdiction will be followed in other cases involving a similar situation


“Pepsi 349 incident of 1992.

In 1984, PepsiCo launched the “Number Fever” promotional campaign for its soft drink products in several Latin American countries. Following its success, on Jan. 15, 1992, Pepsi Philippines wrote the DTI requesting permission to conduct a nationwide “Number Fever” promotional campaign where buyers would have a chance to win the amount printed under specially marked crowns or resealable caps.

After approval by the DTI, the predetermined winning numbers and their matching security codes were deposited in a safety deposit box in the vault of the UCPB. It could only be opened by using 2 keys, one held by DTI and the other by Pepsi Philippines.

Owing to the promotional campaing’s success, Pepsi Philippines extended the “Number Fever” for 5 more weeks, submitting to the DTI a second list of randomly predetermined winning numbers with matching security codes, which were again kept in a safety deposit box.

Things went wrong when on May 25, 1992, the number 349 was announced as the winning number. Among the holders of several crowns bearing the winning number are the respondents with security code L-2560-FQ. Pepsi Philippines recalled 349 as the winning number and replaced it with 134.

After opening the safety deposit box, it was found that the security code L-2560-FQ, appearing in the 349 crowns of the respondents did not appear in the list. Nonetheless, Pepsi Philippines offered to pay the 349 crowns with non-winning security codes P500.00 per crown as a goodwill gesture.

Respondents were among those who did not avail of the offer and instead joined the Ugnayan 349 Association Inc., a group organized by holders of 349 crowns. The group then filed a complaint for collection of sum of money and damages against Pepsi Philippines.

The trial court found that they were not entitled to their crowns but nonetheless ordered Pepsi Philippines to pay each plaintiff the sum of P10,000 moral damages.

CA affirmed.


  • Whether or not the respondents are entitled to their crowns


The SC found for petitioners.

The Pepsi 349 incident spawned several cases all over the country. Some of the separate complaints that had been filed by other rejected crown holders had already resulted in final and executory rulings by this Court that must, following the principle of stare decisis, be followed in the present case.

The principle of stare decisis embodies the legal maxim that a principle of law which has been established by the decision of a court of controlling jurisdiction will be followed in other cases involving a similar situation. It is founded on the necessity for securing certainty and stability in the law and does not require identity of parties.

In the instant case, not only are the legal rights and relations of the parties substantially the same as those passed upon in the other Pepsi 349 cases, but the facts, the applicable laws, the causes of action and the issues are identical such that a ruling in one case is a bar to any attempt to re-litigate the same issue. Final and executory rulings have settled that 349 crowns bearing the wrong security code are not winning crowns. Hence, petitioner is not liable to pay the amounts printed on the crowns to their holders. Nor is petitioner liable for damages thereon.


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