SC asked to reverse decision on ‘Princess of the Stars’ sinking

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THE Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is asking the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse its decision that cleared shipping executive Edgar Go of criminal liability in the sinking of M/V Princess of the Stars six years ago.

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A 27-page motion for reconsideration filed by the OSG headed by Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza before the High Court, argued that it is clear that “there is probable cause to indict respondent Go for the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, physical injuries and damage to properties.”

Families of victims of the tragedy earlier filed a motion for reconsideration thru the Public Attorney’s Office headed by Persida Acosta.

Petitioners Purita Hibe, Nissan Laurel, Estella Geli, Arlene Olang, Josephine Padua, Vicenta Chua, Illuminada Timajo, Lilybeth Cunanan, Elorde Ilustrisimo, Bob Illut, Ernesto Clarin, Evelyn Bajet, Larina Matriz, Celerna Calayag and Sonia Manzanilla sought for the elevation of the case to the SC en banc where it shall be decided by the tribunal’s 15 justices.

Go, Sulpicio Lines first vice president for administration, was recently cleared by the the Supreme Court, affirming an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeals.

The OSG said Go’s failure to implead an indispensable party, i.e. the people of the Philippines, as a party-respondent in his petition for certiorari, made “any actuation and subsequent action of the Court of Appeals… null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent party but even as to those present and impleaded.”

It added that the appellate court erred when it interfered with the discretion of the prosecutors in the determination of probable cause, and in substituting its own judgment for that of the panel of prosecutors and, ultimately, of the Justice secretary.

“Thus, the [appellate court]committed a reversible error in ruling that there is no probable cause to indict respondent Go…” the OSG said.

The M/V Princess of the Stars sailed for Cebu from the Port of Manila on June 20, 2008 with 849 people–709 passengers, 29 contractors and 111 crew.

It capsized in the Sibuyan Sea at 11:30 p.m. the next day with 227 confirmed dead and 592 missing. Only 32 people survived.

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