Tears greet P241-M victory for ‘MV Princess’ victims | Inquirer News

Tears greet P241-M victory for ‘MV Princess’ victims

/ 02:09 AM October 15, 2015

“After seven years, justice prevailed.”

This was how the chief counsel for the families of the victims of the 2008 MV Princess of the Stars tragedy hailed a Manila court decision that ordered the operators of the ill-fated vessel to pay about P241 million in damages.

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Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda Acosta said 71 claimants stand to benefit from the Sept. 18 decision of Judge Daniel Villanueva of Manila Regional Trial Court-Branch 49.

Levy Samuele, president of the group Justice for MV Princess of the Stars Victims, said the claimants shed tears of joy upon  learning about the court decision on Wednesday. Samuele lost two relatives in the tragedy.

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“Praise God! After all the persistence and hardships, there is a positive result,” Samuele said, noting that some claimants came from as far as Abra and La Union provinces and yet attended the hearings, with little money for food and transportation in their pockets.

The judge ruled in favor of the families who lost loved ones and filed damage suits against Sulpicio Lines Inc., the owner of MV Princess which capsized on June 21, 2008, at the height of Typhoon “Frank” near Sibuyan Island, Romblon province. The maritime disaster claimed more than 800 lives.

The court found the shipping firm “liable for negligence and breach of contract of carriage when defendants failed to exercise extraordinary diligence in transporting its passengers to their destination in Cebu.”

Named as respondents in the suit were company officials Enrique S. Go, Eusebio Go, Carlos Go, Victoriano S. Go, Dominador Go, Ricardo Go, Edward Go, Edgar Go, and Capt. Florencio Marimon. Sulpicio is now known as Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

The relative-claimants will receive a total of P241,761,256 in actual, moral and exemplary damages, according to Acosta.

In an interview on Wednesday, the PAO chief said there were still 64 claimants whose damage suit against the shipping firm remained pending in Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 16 under Judge Sylvia Paderranga.

“The court battle was hard but we overcame the odds,” Acosta said, noting how the hearings were slowed down by frequent postponements.

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TAGS: Manila court, Manila Regional Trial Court, MV Princess of the Stars, Persida Rueda-Acosta
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