The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the ruling of Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) issued in 2015 which banned Sulpicio Lines, Inc. (SLI) from engaging in the transport and carriage of passengers.
In a five-page resolution dated June 6 penned by Associate Justice Pablito Perez, the CA’s Eleventh Division denied the petition filed by SLI (now known as Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation) seeking to reverse MARINA’s ruling which have resorted to the wrong mode of review, thus, warranting the dismissal of petition.
The CA explained that the SLI should have filed an appeal first with the Office of the President regarding the decision and resolution of the Marina board in accordance with the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.
“SLI’s failure to appeal to the Office of the President before filing the instant petition before this Court is a premature invocation of the Court’s intervention, thus denies SLI a cause of action for judicial relief. Direct recourse to this Court, when administrative remedies are still available for SLI, is a ground for the dismissal of the petition,” the CA ruled.
The administrative complaint on the cancellation of SLI’s certificate of public conveyance (CPC) was filed by the relatives of the victims of the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Stars, which capsized near the coastline of Sibuyan Island in Romblon in June 2008 at the height of typhoon ‘Frank’.
The incident claimed more than 200 lives while around 500 others were missing.
Covered by Marina’s decision were Sulpicio’s 11 current ships — MV Sulpicio Express Dos, MV Sulpicio Express Tres, MV Sulpicio Express Siete, MV Sulpicio Container II, MV Sulpicio Container XIV, MV Span Asia 1, MV Span Asia 2, MV Span Asia 3, MV Span Asia 5, MV Span Asia 7 and MV Span Asia 9.
The board said other ships that may be added to SLI’s fleet would be limited to cargo operations only.
The decision still allows the filing of separate civil and criminal charges in relation to the tragedy. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)