THE Supreme Court has affirmed a decision of the Court of Appeals ordering Sulpicio Lines Inc. to pay the heirs of one of the survivors of the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Orient which sank off Fortune Island in Batangas in September 1998.
In a 19-page decision dated July 27, 2016, the high court affirmed the June 2005 CA decision upholding an earlier ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 91 that ordered Sulpicio Lines, Inc. to pay damages to Napoleon Sesante, one of the survivors of the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Orient.
In its order, the SC said Sulpicio must pay the amount of P1 million for moral damages, P1 million for exemplary damages and P120,000 in temperate damages to the heirs of Sesante.
In addition, the court said all the amounts awarded shall earn interest of six percent per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid.
The SC ruling, penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, said that “moral damages are meant to enable the injured party to obtain the means, diversions or amusements in order to alleviate the moral suffering while exemplary damages are designed to permit the courts to reshape the behavior that is socially deleterious in its consequence by creating negative incentives or deterrents against such behavior.”
Sesante has died and was substituted by his heirs during the appeal of the case.