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More cases dropped against former Sulpicio company

/ 08:36 AM December 01, 2011

FOUR more civil suits filed against the former Sulpicio Lines Inc. in relation to the 2008 sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars were dismissed by the court yesterday.

In separate resolutions, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judges Simeon Dumdum Jr. and Douglas Marigomen took into consideration the Release and Quitclaim signed by the victims’ families as basis for dismissal.

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In signing the release and quitclaim, the families received P200,000 in insurance from Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., formerly known as Sulpicio Lines Inc.
The courts ruled that the documents freed the company from any future liability over the tragedy.

Dumdum dismissed the civil suits filed by Chona Abejo, Maria Obiedo, and Elizabeth Lawan.  Marigomen, on the other hand, junked the complaint filed by Monica Laurente. Dumdum earlier dismissed the case filed by Elina Edisan.

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All dismissed cases are being reviewed by the Court of Appeals as requested by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO). Marigomen said the Release and Quitclaim is embodied in a public document and translated in the Cebuano dialect, which the plaintiff  understood.

Marigomen said the quitclaim waives the right of the plaintiff to pursue a second compensation.

“(Laurente) effectively renounced and waived this second claim when she elected to receive the proceeds resulting from the Release and Quitclaim,” he said.

For his part, Dumdum said the Release and Quitclaim is a legitimate waiver that should be respected based on a previous ruling by the Supreme Court.

The MV Princess of the Stars capsized off Romblon at the height of Typhoon Frank while enroute to Cebu City with 820 people on board on June 21, 2008. Only 32 survived.

At least 64 cases were filed in the Cebu City courts against the former Sulpicio company in relation to the sinking.

Most of the cases are pending before RTC Judge Soliver Peras of Branch 10. About 71 other cases were filed with the court in Manila.

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The plaintiffs are seeking damages from the company.

The plaintiffs, who were assisted by PAO, believed the company was negligent in allowing the vessel to sail even if they knew that MV Princess of the Stars would pass by provinces where storm signal numbers 2 and 3 were declared due to Typhoon Frank.

Sulpicio released to each of the families of the victims P200,000 as proceeds of the insurance whose premium was paid by passengers when they bought the ticket. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol

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TAGS: Judiciary, Maritime Accidents, MV Princess of the Stars, Sulpicio Lines Inc., Waterway & Maritime Transport
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