Cebu Pacific cabin crew sues over slapping incident

A CABIN crew of the Cebu Pacific filed a case of slander by deed and slight physical injury before the Davao City Prosecutor's office on August 10 against a passenger who allegedly slapped her in the face after she refused to stow passenger’s bag.

The incident went viral on social media after the accused posted about slapping a cabin crew and the cabin crew in turn posted about being slapped and insulted.

Cabin crew Madel Ty filed charges against Maria Vicenta Tello, a resident of ORC corner Sinsuat and Gutierrez Avenue, Cotabato City, following a slapping incident last July 30, 2016 at 12:40 pm.

Based on the seven-page affidavit of complaint filed, she was serving as a Lead Cabin Crew of flight 5J 955 from Manila to Davao.

After the safety demonstration, the crew conducted the final check and safety compliance.

Upon reaching the 16th row, she said, the passenger later identified as Tello was ranting against the crew member who was at the time at the rear of the cabin.

Tello was questioning their procedures.

“Nagpapa-seatbelt kayo tapos iuutos ninyo na ilagay yung bag. Your job is to assist the passengers, kumbaga sa bus may conductor kayo. Goddamit! Ang babastos! (You ask us to wear seatbelts but you tell us to put the bags down. You job is to assist passengers. Goddamit! So rude!)” Ty quoted Tello as saying.

The complainant said that as she reached the galley, she talked with the cabin crew named Grace Fatima Magtibay who told her that she was conducting the safety compliance check when she observed the passenger’s bag protruding in her seat and politely requested for the passenger to stow the bag to the overhead bin and even opened the bin for the passenger.

But when she returned, the passenger still did not stow the bin above and so she did it herself.

The complainant said that on her way back to forward galley the respondent tapped her in the back and asked her is she the same crew she had conversation with earlier and the latter asked for her last name, to which she replied “Ty po, Ma’am.”

The respondent then started murmuring that the crew was disrespectful and she, the complainant, once again apologized and even offered the passenger a Guest Feedback Form to formally air her concern.

Around 12:40 p.m. of July 30 while in the process of deplaning the passengers at Fransisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao, the respondent stayed in the cabin and opted to disembark last.

Another cabin crew overheard the passenger looking for Grace, overhearing Tello say, "Gusto ko siyang sampalin," as she was walking out of the aircraft.

Before disembarking, Tello turned around, looked for Ty, asked her to approach and then slapped her in the face.

The complainant said that she was shocked and it took her seconds to ask security guard to hold the passenger to report what she did.

The complainant said that the cabin crew who went after the respondent told her that the respondent refused to be held after the incident saying that she is in a hurry and that it was the fault of the cabin crew.

The cabin crew member told the respondent that as she hurt one of the cabin crew, and thus must proceed to the Airport police.

At the arrival area, the cabin crew member said that the respondent told the Airport Police that she is the wife of Colonel Tello and left.

A check with online reports indicate there is a Colonel Tello with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but it cannot be ascertained if this is the man the accused was referring to.

The complainant said that the said cabin crew member made a Security Incident Report later that afternoon and that she and her companions went to the Airport Police Office to file a blotter report.

The Cebu Pacific in a Statement from lawyer JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs states that the company extends full support to its cabin crew member.

The airline company has also decided that the passenger who carried out the assault will not be allowed to board any of the airlines’ flight until further notice.

Based on the statement, the Cebu Pacific also has not yet received any communication from the passenger.

The airline also affirms their commitment to fully support their staff from any physical or verbal abuse from disruptive passengers and added that they will continue to provide necessary assistance to their cabin crew throughout the case.
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