Court of Appeals: Transport ban on Sulpicio Lines stays
The Court of Appeals upheld the 2015 decision of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) prohibiting Sulpicio Lines Inc. (SLI) from transporting passengers.
In a five-page resolution dated June 6, the appeals court’s 11th division, through Associate Justice Justice Pablito Perez, denied the appeal filed by SLI, whose corporate was changed to Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation following the 2008 sinking of its biggest passenger vessel in Romblon
The appeals court said SLI should have filed an appeal first with the Office of the President of the decision for the 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 appeals court explained.
The administrative complaint for 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 coast of Sibuyan Island in Romblon on June 21, 2008 at the height of typhoon ‘Frank’.
Out of 851 passengers and crew, only 32 have survived.
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. /ee