With help from the Public Attorney’s Office, the kin of the four victims of M/V Princess of the Stars tragedy in 2008 have vowed to pursue their dismissed civil suits against Sulpicio Lines.
“For the four cases dismissed, a motion for reconsideration is being prepared and the same will be filed before their due date on Oct. 31,” PAO chief Persida Acosta said.
Judge Dante Corminal of the Cebu Regional Trial Court ordered Sulpicio Lines to indemnify the families of the 55 victims of the sea tragedy P199.1 million while dismissing the four other cases for failure to present evidence.
While the plaintiffs in those dismissed cases were unable to present their evidence, the PAO was able to present common evidence applicable to all plaintiffs in these consolidated cases tried and heard before the Cebu City court, Acosta said.
“The common evidence presented by PAO has already been ruled to have proved the negligence and liability of Sulpicio Lines (now Span Asia Carrier), which should redound to the benefit of the plaintiffs, who were unable to prove only the actual damages peculiar to them,” Acosta said.
“Plaintiffs presented common witnesses who testified on matters material and relevant to their common cause of action and to prove the negligence of the defendants. Thus, the evidence of one is the evidence of all,” she added.
Seeking indemnification are the mother of Ritchie Bryan Furia; the wife and children of Jose Eric Manigos; the husband of Farah Angeles-Guinitaran and the parents of Honey Lyn Garces.
The passenger vessel owned by Sulpicio Lines capsized on June 21, 2008 off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon at the height of typhoon “Frank.”
“Given the finding of negligence on the part of Sulpicio, et al., the affected plaintiffs (those who did not testify and whose cases were consequently dismissed) are indubitably entitled to moral and exemplary damages under the law,” the PAO chief said.
“The court can take judicial notice of the fact that anyone who suddenly lost a loved one under the circumstances, as in these cases, suffers pain, hurt, anxiety and wounded feelings. It has always been ruled that moral damages are not intended to enrich a plaintiff at the expense of the defendant,” she added.