CA clears Sulpicio Lines official in 2008 tragedy

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THE Court of Appeals (CA) has stood pat on its ruling that absolved an official of Sulpicio Lines in connection with the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars.

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A three-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Melchor Sadang the CA former 15th division junked the motion for reconsideration filed by the Department of Justice and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and cleared Edgar Go.

The appellate court opined that the movants failed to raise new issues that would warrant a reversal of their previous decision.

“After a circumspect review, this Court finds no compelling reason to reconsider the March 22, 2013 decision. The grounds raised in the motions and the arguments advanced in support thereof are mere reiterations of those already exhaustively considered by the Court, and no substantial reason is presented that has not been previously invoked or passed upon,” the document reads.

The CA said that the motion must be denied for lack of merit.

Magistrates Celia Librea-Leagogo and Franchito Diamante concurred with the ruling.
The MV Princess of the Stars sailed for Cebu from the Port of Manila on June 20, 2008 ferrying 849 individuals, 709 of whom were passengers, 29 contractors and 111 crewmembers. It capsized in the Sibuyan Sea at 21:30 pm the next day. Only 32 people survived, 227 died and 592 were reported missing.

In the original decision of the CA, Sulpicio Vice President for Administration Edgar Go was cleared since the Department of Justice (DOJ) erred in finding probable cause and it was guilty of grave abuse of discretion.

“That petitioner (Go) allowed the officers of the vessel to decide whether to set sail or not does not render him criminally liable. Such decision was within the authority of the captain of the vessel (Florencio Marimon) in coordination with the [Philippine Coast Guard] in view of the weather bulletin,” the appellate court opined.

“The flaw in the DOJ panel’s finding is that it proceeds from the mistaken premise that petitioner, as first vice-president for administration and head of the crisis management committee, possesses the power, authority, and duty to control and decide matters pertaining to the vessel’s navigation at sea,” it averred.

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