Complainants in the suit, which was lodged before the Department of Justice (DOJ), were 13 families whose relatives were among those who perished in the incident.
MV Princess of the Stars was carrying more than 800 passengers and crewmembers when it sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province last June 21 during the height of typhoon “Frank.”
Named respondents in the suit were ship captain Florencio Marimon, Sulpicio Lines president Enrique Go; executive vice-president and chief executive officer Carlos Go; senior vice president and secretary Victoriano Go; and first vice presidents Dominador and Edgar Go.
PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said the respondents were charged with negligence and reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and serious physical injury.
In a 14-page complaint, Acosta said respondents should be held criminally liable for allowing the ship to set sail despite a declaration by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa) that Storm Signal Nos. 2 and 3 were raised in the areas where the ship will navigate.
“Indeed, the negligence of the aforesaid respondent officials of Sulpicio has been shown by their absence of care and foresight to avoid damages, deaths and injuries to the passengers, respectively of said vessel,” Acosta said.
“Further the absence of skill on the part of respondent Captain Florencio Marimon was clearly demonstrated when he caused the M/V Princess of the Stars to navigate despite declaration of signal nos. 2 and 3 in the areas that it would be passing through, instead of seeking shelter,” she added.
The complainants said it would have been more prudent for the respondents to anchor the ship at the sheltered Calapan Bay and to have checked with Pagasa regarding the movement of typhoon “Frank” from time to time.
Acosta said MV Princess of the Stars, as attested by electronic surveillance monitoring equipment, was the only vessel at sea and did not take shelter when typhoon Frank struck on June 21.
PAO stated that the negligence of the respondents were further manifested when they allowed their ship to be loaded with some 40 metric tons of endosulfan and other toxic substances.
As part of their evidence, complainants attached copies of the Senate committee reports involving two other passenger vessels of Sulpicio Lines that met the same fate – the Doña Paz and MV Princess of the Orient – as proofs the shipping firm’s “habitual deliberate violations to exercise diligence in preventing sea disasters.” - GMANews.TV
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