Out of a total of 59 cases filed by families of the victims of the MV Princess of the Stars tragedy, 55 were granted damages, while four were dismissed for “failure to present evidence.”
After 13 long years, 55 heirs of the passengers who died after the MV Princess of the Stars sank off the coast of Romblon in 2008 will be awarded indemnification totaling P199.1 million.
In a press briefing last Tuesday October 19, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) confirmed the compensation that will be given to the families of the victims.
PAO Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta said they received a copy of the Cebu RTC Branch 16 decision last October 18, 2021 with regard to the 59 consolidated cases filed before the court.
Out of a total of 59 cases, 55 were granted damages, while four were dismissed for “failure to present evidence.”
The MV Princess of the Stars, the flag ship of the Sulpicio Lines fleet, left the port of Manila on June 20, 2008The passenger ship sailed from Manila and was bound for Cebu City.
The next day, rough seas caused by typhoon “Frank” forced the ship’s crew to divert to Sibuyan Island in Romblon, where it sank.
Of the more than 800 passengers reportedly on board, only 32 survived, while than 300 bodies were recovered in the search and retrieval operations that followed.
In August 2008, the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended that Sulpicio Lines' owner, Edgardo Go, be slapped with charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, damage to property, and serious physical injury.
In December 2009, the firm changed its name to Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation and expanded to become a domestic shipping company.
The Court of Appeals, in April 2013, junked a criminal case against Go, saying that the DOJ made a mistake when it held Go liable for not ordering the ship to seek shelter at the height of the storm.
In October 2015, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 49 directed Sulpicio Lines to pay P241 million worth of damages to more than 60 claimants. The management of Sulpicio Lines has since appealed the court ruling.
In June 18, the appellate court ruled that Sulpicio Lines may no longer carry and transport passengers as ordered by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
Finally in 2021, the decision that favored the families of the victims, penned by RTC Cebu Branch 16 Presiding Judge Dante Corminal on October 6, 2021, also stated that “interest at the rate of six percent per annum shall be imposed in all monetary awards from the date of finality of this decision until fully paid.”
Sulpicio Lines has been involved in several maritime disasters in the Philippines, including what was considered to be the world’s worst peacetime marine disaster in 1987 when the MV Dona Paz collided with an oil tanker and sank off Mindoro Island.
More than 4,000 passengers were reportedly killed in the disaster, while only 26 passengers survived.
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