The Philippine justice system has been in the spot light for quite some time especially during the impeachment proceedings of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. One of these controversies is the Supreme Court’s rulings in the case between the Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation against Keppel Cebu Shipyard Inc., a Singapore-based multinational company.
This case involved a P329- Million insurance liability claim filed by Pioneer Insurance against Keppel. The conflict rose on Feburary 8, 2000, when the Superferry 3 of WG&A was destroyed by fire while being dry-docked by Keppel inside its shipyard in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu. Being the insurer of WG&A, Pioneer paid WG&A approximatelyP360 Million. After doing so, Pioneer filed a suit against Keppel to recover the amount paid by it to WG&A. Pioneer believed that the liability must lie with the Keppel Company since according to investigations, the fire started due to negligence of one of Keppel’ personnel. Keppel argued that its liability is only up to P50 Million as stated in its repair agreement entered between the Company and WG&A.
Several appeals and motions for reconsideration have been applied to the Court of Appeals by both parties. The first proceeding occurred on November 18, 2002, wherein the CIAC declared that WG&A and Keppel were both liable on the said fire accident. CIAC then awarded Pioneer the sum of P25 Million plus 6% interest p.a. from date of filing of complaint and 12% interest from date of finality until fully paid. Due to this ruling, both parties filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
On September 25, 2009, the Supreme Court Third Division awarded to Pioneer the net amount of approximately P329 Million, Keppel filed a MR, but after more than a year, SC issued an Entry of Judgment which certified that the decision it made a year ago become final and executory. This means that the decision of the SC on this issue can’t be questioned anymore in the future. Sad to say, this isn’t the case as the Supreme Court has violated its own rule. In September 2012, the SC opened the case again and modified its ruling as a response to the letter made by Keppel to then Chief Justice Corona questioning the Court’s decision.
Now, with the Supreme Court being “not firm” with its decisions, can we still trust the Philippine Justice System? Just asking.