Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific will seek all possible legal options to appeal the P2 million judgment won by Magnolia Nova Mendoza in a discrimination case versus the airline at the Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC).
“We are evaluating all possible legal options at our disposal including filing a motion for reconsideration,” Jorenz Tanada, vice president corporate affairs of Cebu Pacific said in a text message to The Manila Times.
Branch 114 Judge Edwin Ramizo of Pasay RTC said in a 39-page decision that Magnolia was subjected to an inspection that caused the passenger much embarrassment, anxiety and humiliation, after Cebu Pacific gate personnel in Dumaguete barred Magnolia from boarding a Manila-bound flight in March, 2010. Magnolia suffers from psoriasis, a non-contagious skin condition characterized by red, scaly rashes that appear on the skin.
The Pasay court ordered Cebu Pacific to pay Magnolia P1 million each in moral and exemplary damages, pointing out, among other things, that psoriasis was not specifically mentioned as a medical condition requiring special clearance or handling in the airline’s own manual of operations.
The case is the second controversy involving Cebu Pacific gate personnel and passengers with medical issues to arise in recent months. In March this year, the mother of a 12-year-old boy with a congenital deformity filed a complaint before the Manila International Airport Authority-Customer Relations Center after her son was not allowed to board their Cebu Pacific flight to Vietnam due to an alleged damaged passport.
Regin de Guzman Palileo, mother of the 12-year-boy with pectus excavatum (Latin term meaning hollowed chest), sought the help of airport authorities to immediately clear the child’s travel to Vietnam for medical treatment.
Palileo said that she, her son, and mother Luisa Punzalan were scheduled to board a Cebu Pacific Air flight when Mark Rotanel, an airline counter agent, prevented the boy from boarding the plane for possession of an alleged damaged passport.
Airport authorities referred the matter to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which said that the passport was valid and had no defect. The conflict was finally resolved after the DFA issued a temporary passport to the 12-year-old boy after realizing the urgency of the trip.