Girl, 7, copes with pa’s loss in ‘08 sinking

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013


ARIANNA Barret was still two years old when her father, Arman, died aboard the MV Princess of the Stars, which sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon Province during typhoon Frank in 2008.

As she grew up, her aunt Rowena said that other children in her neighborhood and her classmates would often taunt her that she has no father.

To let her seven-year-old niece know that she was born into the world with a father, Rowena said they played the video recording of Arman’s burial last week.

“Nakahilak siya (My niece cried),” she said in a phone interview.

Rowena said her family is dismayed with the dismissal of the criminal charges against an official of Sulpicio Lines Inc., now Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

“Pero wa mi mawagtangig paglaom (But we are not losing hope),” she said.

Civil cases

Arman’s case is among the 56 civil cases in Cebu that were submitted for settlement.

Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 Judge Soliver Peras handles the cases.

Lawyer Maria Calinawan of the Public Attorney’s Office said the 56 cases are part of the 63 civil cases filed against Sulpicio in Cebu. The other cases are in other courts.

She said it is better if the cases will be consolidated in one court.

Rowena said they first filed a claim of P5 million in damages against Sulpicio, but they lowered the amount to P1 million after a mediation.

She said they planned to give half of the amount to Arianna’s mother, who is working as a househelp in Saudi Arabia, and the other half will be kept in a bank for the child’s trust fund.

“I want my brother’s wife to stay in the Philippines, so she can take care of their daughter,” she said in Cebuano.

CA decision

In the CA 15th Division’s decision, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 5 was directed not to accept information that will indict the company’s first vice president Edgar Go, since the Department of Justice (DOJ) acted with grave abuse in the preparation of these cases: reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, damage to property, and serious physical injury.

“The flaw in the DOJ panel’s finding is that it proceeds from the mistaken premise that petitioner, as first vice president for administration and head of the crisis management committee, possesses the power, authority, and duty to control and decide matters pertaining to the vessel’s navigation at sea,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Melchor Sadang read.

The decision, however, does not exempt the shipping line from any liability.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 03, 2013.

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