SC urged to reverse CA ruling clearing Sulpicio exec

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

A PETITION was filed on Thursday by relatives of victims in the 2008 sinking of M/V Princess of the Stars seeking to reverse a Court of Appeals (CA) decision clearing a Sulpicio Lines official of criminal liability.

The petition stated that the trial on several cases filed against Sulpicio's first vice president for administration Edgar Go must push through because the Manila Regional Trial Court branch 5 already had a judicial determination of probable cause against him.

Go was arraigned on charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, damage to property and serious physical injury for not instructing the vessel to seek shelter or drop anchor at the height of Typhoon Frank (international name: Fengshen) on June 21, 2008.

But the CA ruled it is the responsibility of the ship's captain, Florencio Marimon, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), to decide matters pertaining to the vessel's navigation at sea.

Go's position only allows him to supervise personnel who perform liaison work with government agencies for compliance with statutory permits, certificates and franchises, the appellate court said in March 2013.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed the decision but it was rejected last January.

However, the 15 petitioners such as Purita Hibe and Nissan Laurel maintained that Go should be held accountable for the incident.

The Cebu-bound ship capsized off Sibuyan Island in Romblon, leaving 227 people dead and 592 missing. Only 32 people survived. (Sunnex)

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