CA affirms ruling absolving Sulpicio exec

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2014 05:59 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2014 01:59 AM

MANILA - The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed its decision clearing an executive of Sulpicio Lines of criminal liability over the sinking of its passenger ship M/V Princess of the Stars off the seas of Romblon in 2008, which killed at least 800 passengers and crew.

In a three-page resolution by its former 15th Division, the appellate court junked the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for failure to present new arguments.

On March 22, 2013, the appellate court ruled that the finding of probable cause by the DOJ against Sulpicio Lines First Vice-President for Administration, Edgar Go, for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, physical injuries, and damage to properties, was tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

"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 resolution read.
In its March 2013 decision, the appellate court ruled that Go may not be held criminally liable for the sea mishap since the decision to set sail in spite of the bad weather brought about by typhoon "Frank" was the call of ship captain Florencio Marimon in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

In the decision, the appellate court also ruled that Go should not be held liable for not instructing the vessel to seek shelter or drop anchor in the middle of the storm.

In the MR, the DOJ, together with the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), and several others, argued that as owner and an official of Sulpicio Lines, Go cannot wash his hands of any criminal liability.

The ill-fated vessel sailed for Cebu on June 20, 2008 from the Port of Manila, ferrying 849 individuals -- 709 of whom were passengers, 29 contractors, and 111 crew.

The Princess of the Stars capsized at 21:30 pm the next day.