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SC orders reinstatement of criminal case vs Sulpicio exec over ferry sinking.

SC orders reinstatement of criminal case vs Sulpicio exec over ferry sinking !-- -- Kristine Joy Patag ( - April 8, 2019 - 3:16pm MANILA, Philippines The Supreme Court has ordered the reinstatement of a criminal case against an official of Sulpicio Lines Inc.

over the 2008 M/V Princess of the Stars tragedy that killed hundreds of passengers. In a statement on Monday, the SC's Third Division reversed the Court of Appeals March 22, 2013 decision and Jan.

8, 2014 resolution, and ordered the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 5 to reinstate the reckless imprudence case against Edgar Go, executive of Sulpicio Lines. Sulpicio Lines was renamedPhilippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

in 2009. A STAR report, quoting a July 2014 ruling from the SC, said that the high tribunal earlier held that CA was correct when it ruled that the "respondent's act of allowing the officers of the vessel to decide whether to set sail or not and for failing to instruct them to seek shelter during the storm, did not render him criminally liable." The SC in its latest ruling noted that the "consolidated petitions for review.


were initially denied by the Court in a resolution dated July 2, 2014. However, in a subsequent Resolution dated August 18, 2014, the Court granted the petitioners' motion for reconsideration and reinstated the consolidated petitions for review." The ruling, penned by Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr.

, however did not elaborate on the July 2014 decision that upheld the appellate court's ruling. In the tribunal's latest ruling, it stressed that courts do not reverse the findings of the Justice secretary on matter of probable cause except in clear cases of grave abuse of discretion.

The court also held that the DOJ's panel of prosecutors did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it found probable cause to indict Go on the charge of reckless imprudence. "The Court, thus, concludes that the DOJ Panel's Resolution clearly supports a prima facie [based on first impression] finding that reckless imprudence under Article 365 of the RPC has been committed," the ruling read.

The tribunal however stressed that the ruling is "not equivalent to a determination of respondent's guilt in the criminal case for reckless imprudence." The M/V Princess of the Stars was sailing to Cebu from Manila in June 2008 when it capsized due to bad weather.

The ship had been cleared to sail despite storm warnings and survivors said the ship captain Florencio Marimon gave the order to abandon ship too late. Of the 849 persons on board, 32 survived, 227 died and 592 were reported missing.

Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Marvic Leonen, Alexander Gesmundo and Ramon Paul Hernando concurred with Reyes' main decision.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Apr 8, 2019
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