SolGen joins clamor to reinstate case vs Sulpicio exec

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Friday, August 15, 2014


MANILA -- The Office of Solicitor General has joined an appeal of the relatives of victims in the 2008 sinking of M/V Princess of the Stars to reverse the Supreme Court (SC) decision that cleared a Sulpicio Lines executive of criminal liability.

In a motion for reconsideration, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza asked the SC to reinstate the case of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, physical injuries and damage to properties against Sulpicio vice president for administration Edgar Go.

Jardeleza said the Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary and the panel of prosecutors did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in finding probable cause to indict Go in a Manila court, as their findings were based on records and evidence submitted by the parties, as well as those gathered during clarificatory hearings.

The SC recently sustained the Court of Appeals (CA) decision in March 2013 that junked the DOJ resolution, saying Go could not be criminally charged for not instructing the Cebu-bound vessel to seek shelter or drop anchor at the height of Typhoon Frank (international name: Fengshen) on June 21, 2008.

The High Court said Go is only liable for civil damages.

"Accordingly, this Honorable Court should not sustain the error committed by the Court of Appeals, and, thus, close its eyes on the existence of facts and circumstances necessitating probable cause to indict respondent Go," the motion read.

The government also said that Go's petition should have been dismissed by the CA because he failed to implead the People of the Philippines as an "indispensable party."

"Considering the glaring fact that the People, an indispensable parry was not impleaded in the petition for certiorari filed before the CA, the latter should not have taken cognizance of the case nor granted the same," the solicitor general said.

The kin, represented by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), earlier filed an appeal to elevate the issue to the 15-member en banc from the five-member SC Second Division, which upheld the CA ruling.

Only 32 out of 849 passengers and crew survived the incident, which happened off Sibuyan island near Romblon.

Last Monday, the PAO reported that retrieval operations are still ongoing for an estimated 400 bodies that remain underwater. (Sunnex)

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