INQUIRER.NET

Airline agents say Claudine Barretto cussed them

Two passenger arrival agents of Cebu Pacific Air said they were “verbally abused” on Sunday by actress Claudine Barretto after the airline off-loaded her group’s bags from a midday flight from Caticlan, the gateway to Boracay.

Cid Charisse Bocboc and Kristine Anne Ilagan made the disclosure in a statement to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) police’s intelligence and investigation department (PIID).

In her statement, Bocboc said Barretto started berating her and colleague Ilagan after the actress learned that her group’s bags had been left behind in Caticlan.

When Bocboc asked Barretto for her group’s baggage claim stubs for the proper tracing of the items, the actress continued verbally abusing them, said an employee of the NAIA PIID, who asked not to be named.

The PIID had summoned the Cebu Pacific ground staff to shed light on reports that Barretto had berated them.

The Inquirer tried to reach Bocboc and Ilagan. But both were “off duty” Monday, according to Candice Alabanza Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution.

Luggage off-loaded

When interviewed, Iyog recalled that on Sunday, Barretto’s group took Cebu Pacific Flight No. 5J 896, which left Caticlan at 10:20 a.m. The flight arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 at 11:35 a.m.

“Cebu Pacific, however, had to off-load some luggage from that flight due to Caticlan airport’s weight limit requirements, which the airline strictly implements for safety reasons,” she said.

Iyog said that due to the short runway and the prevailing wind conditions at Caticlan, the plane could only carry a certain amount of weight, prompting the ground staff to off-load some bags.

“A total of 11 bags were off-loaded from that flight. Nine of them belonged to Barretto’s group (which also included her husband, actor Raymart Santiago),” the Cebu Pacific executive said.

“But the same bags were promptly loaded on another Manila-bound flight—Cebu Pacific Flight No. 5J 340, which left Kalibo airport at 12:40 p.m. on the same day. That flight arrived at 1:40 p.m. All off-loaded bags were delivered to their owners’ homes a few hours later,” she said.

Offer of compensation

Iyog said Bocboc and Ilagan “did apologize to (Barretto and party) for what happened and promptly attended to their concerns at the baggage claim area of NAIA Terminal 3.”

“When our arrival agents learned that their bags had been off-loaded in Caticlan, they offered them what we call ‘first need’ compensation, which is P1,000 for every bag left behind. That’s (standard operating procedure). We also offered to refund their excess baggage worth P4,300,” she said.

Iyog pointed out that the airline had done what it was supposed to do. “However, (Santiago and Barretto) have yet to respond to our compensation offers,” she said.

“But we are in constant communication with the Santiagos,” she added.

In an ABS-CBN TV interview, Santiago blamed Cebu Pacific’s off-loading of his group’s bags as the cause of their troubles.

“Actually, the root cause of the incident was our missing bags,” he said as he also denied Tulfo’s allegation that he had tried to grab his phone.

Strike 3 for Barretto

NAIA insiders, including two reporters covering the airport beat, referred to Sunday’s incident as “Strike 3” for Barretto.

They claimed, among other things, that the actress “had been involved in three similar incidents during the past two or three years.”

“One time, she made a scene after she was refused boarding on a domestic flight because she came late. After she made some calls, she was allowed to board the plane. She was involved in a similar incident, also on a domestic flight,” said a NAIA source.

Another source said the actress had the “nasty habit of throwing her weight around when she doesn’t get what she wants, like getting an upgrade on international flights.”

Outbrain