23 Aug SC commands Sulpicio Lines to Pay M/V Princess of the Orient victim’s successor
It’s hard to forget the incident in the ocean on September 18, 1998, near Fortune Island in Batangas where the M/V Princess of the Orient sunk, leaving 70 people dead and 80 more missing.
On Sunday, August 21, the Supreme Court stated the decision of lower courts to have Sulpicio Lines Inc. pay Napoleon Sesante, one of the survivors of the incident, for damages with increased penalties.
On June 27, 2005, the decision to penalize Sulpicio Lines has been made, but it has only been lifted on July 27, 2016, signed by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin.
Since Sesante has died when the case was still pending, the rightful receiver of the payment from Sulpicio lines will be the heirs of the victim.
Sulpicio Lines needs to pay for the moral damages worth P1 million, exemplary damages worth P1 million, temperate damages worth P120,000, and the costs of suit.
Sulpicio called for the dismissal of the charge, saying that, Sesante’s complaint about damages was his own and cannot be transferred to his successors upon death.
Yet the Court did not accept Sulpicio’s argument. A citation on the Rule of the Court reads, “whenever a part to a pending action dies, and the claim is not thereby extinguished… the heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the deceased.”
The statement of the High Court reads, “These actuations attending the unfortunate sinking of the M/V Princess of the Orient were far below the standard of care and circumspection that the law on common carriers demanded.”
Justice came after almost two decades. At least it is better than there is no justice about this matter anymore. Thanks to the current overall improvement in the Philippine government.