I sue Cebu Pacific for P1 million
for not waking me up to take my flight
By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUÑA CAUSING
Author of the book "Simplified Libel Law in the Philippines"
I felt disgusted this morning (12 February 2013) because I was left behind by the Cebu Pacific plane that was supposed to take me to General Santos City on a 5:20 a.m. flight.
I checked in at 3:30 a.m. and proceeded right away to a seat at the lobby area of Boarding Gate No. 134 as instructed in my boarding pass.
Unluckily, I fell asleep and not one of the dozen of Cebu Pacific staff attending to passengers for General Santos City woke me up.
Yes, they announced my name several times but I am an ordinary human who cannot hear the announcements when asleep. Under that situation, it is the awake who had the obligation to take care of the concerns of the asleep as a measure of diligence to comply with the ends of the contract of carriage.
I unconsciously felt asleep on the seat I was sitting on due to lack of sleep that was caused by many works for the clients and the fact that I chose not to take a nap because it would be dangerous for me to take a sleep that I might not be able to wake up early enough to check in.
I succeeded in checking in at 3:20 a.m. and I made sure that I can ride so that I positioned myself in front of the boarding gate. But, I fell asleep. The Cebu Pacific staffers did not wake up all passengers sleeping at the assigned Boarding Gate No. 134.
I insist justice.
Cebu Pacific is at fault here because it has a contract of carriage and this contract is one impressed with public interest that Cebu Pacific must ensure their best that I must be able to ride the plane.
They clearly had the last clear chance to avoid damage by means of waking me up but not one of its staffers did.
READ MY AFFIDAVIT THAT I WILL USE IN FILING THE ONE-MILLION SUIT AGAINST CEBU PACIFIC.
Republic of the Philippines )
City of Manila )SC
I, BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING, of legal age, Filipino, a resident of Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila, after having been sworn to in accordance with law, do hereby depose and state:
1. I am executing this Affidavit for the purpose of filing a complaint for damages of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) against Cebu Pacific;
2. At 6 to 8 pm, I went to the Bureau of Immigration jail at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig to talk to our client Kim Han Ju regarding his case for deportation;
3. At 8:30 pm, I arrived at my office-residence at Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila;
4. Since then, I attended to my clients at my office, including the interviewing and examination of witnesses for the judicial affidavits to be presented at the Metropolitan Trial Court of Las Piñas, Branch 79, to prove the merit of the motion to quash;
5. Among the pleadings I wrote during that night were the judicial affidavits of witnesses Leonardo L. Mateo and Candido L. Mateo Jr., manifestation to set for hearing Petition for Bail of Kim Han Ju and motion to set hearing the motion to dismiss of the case People vs. Saturnino Grutas, Criminal Case Nos. 11-281562;
6. I completed the examination of Leonardo L. Mateo and Candido L. Mateo Jr. and the writing of their judicial affidavits at 1:00 a.m. of 12 February 2013;
7. As a measure of diligence and prudence, I decided not to sleep for fear that I may not be able to wake up to take my scheduled 5:20 a.m. flight with Cebu Pacific for General Santos City;
8. My flight details are as follows:
Flight: No. 5J-991
Time of departure: 520Hours (meaning, 5:20 a.m.)
Date of departure: 12 February 2013, Tuesday
Arrival at Gensan: 710Hours (meaning, 7:10 a.m.)
Route: Manila City to General Santos City
9. I packed up my traveling bag and fixed my computer bag to bring the case folder and other cases where I had pleadings to write on, these acts I did to also take advantage of the lull time up to 3:00 a.m., my scheduled time of leaving my office-residence to go to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 to check in for the same flight;
10. At 3:00 a.m., I was fetched from my office-resident to the airport by my staffers, Jomar J. Fantillan, Ronelo Cesumision, and Hernani Q. Cuare;
11. About 3:20 a.m. or so, I checked in at the check-in counter of Cebu Pacific for General Santos City;
12. During the transactions at the check-in counter, I had an issue with the check-in personnel as to whether or not I should have my baggage checked in, too, because I wanted to handcarry my traveling bag.
13. The check-in personnel suggested that I should check in my baggage because it was more than seven (7) kilograms;
14. Despite my insistence that I should handcarry the traveling bag because I wanted no delay in checking out of the airport at General Santos City as I was afraid the delay may cause me to be late in my scheduled hearing at the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2, in that city, for the case entitled “People of the Philippines vs. Abdul Macalao Arsad,” Criminal Case No. 50966-2;
15. Nevertheless, I gave in and I had my traveling bag checked in;
16. As a result, I paid Four Hundred Eighty Eight Pesos (P488.00) for the excess baggage;
17. The counter girl at the cashier’s row issued me a Cebu Pacific receipt as evidence of my payment for the excess baggage;
18. As an evidence of this payment, I attach hereto as ANNEX “A” a copy of Cebu Pacific Office Receipt No. 2845007 dated 12 Feb 13 signed by cashier collector in a signature that is legible as “Julie”;
19. Now, that I had already checked in, the counter-girl at the same cash counter issued me also my boarding pass in two pieces of thermal paper, copies of this boarding pass are attached hereto as ANNEX “B” and ANNEX “B-1”;
20. Thereafter I proceeded to the x-ray scanning machine before finally going to the assigned boarding gate;
21. “Gate No.: 134” was written on my boarding pass as the boarding gate assigned to me as a flyer to General Santos City on board 5J-991;
22. Upon arrival at the lobby area of Gate No. 134 at about 3:30 a.m., I sat on one of the seats in the second row facing the gate and that seat was just about five seats from the left end of the rows of seats;
23. I sat and in a little while, I felt sleepy that I immediately positioned myself to take a nap covering three seats and I closed my eyes;
24. The next thing I know was when I woke up and I saw there was already daylight just outside the gate, considering that the gate and the walls are made of clear glass;
25. I asked the people I saw as my seatmates on whether the flight for General Santos City had already left;
26. They told me that the plane already left and one of them even told me that she was inclined to wake me up as they heard a name being paged or announced to proceed to the boarding gate No. 134;
27. Then I thought of taking a photo of me sitting at the lobby seat area in front of Boarding Gate No. 134 and I asked a woman passenger and she took a shot of me using my Samsung Galaxy cellular phone;
28. The photo is attached hereto as ANNEX “C”;
29. After that, I glanced at my cellular phone again and it showed there that the time after the taking of the picture was 7:01 a.m.;
30. Now, to make sure whether the plane had left, I stood up and proceeded to the nearby gate counters where I saw dozens of staffers of Cebu Pacific;
31. I asked all of them and they confirmed to me that the plane for General Santos City had already left;
32. They asked for my name and after I gave it to the checked on the computer and they said that my name was announced many times but I never showed up;
33. I countered that it was not enough for them to just be contented to announcing names because those passengers who involuntarily fell asleep cannot hear whatever announcements they would make;
34. I also lectured the staffers that at least they exercised more diligence by tapping the shoulders of all those who fell asleep at Boarding Gate No. 134;
35. I continued my lecture that between those who are asleep and those who are awake, those who are awake who have the obligation to attend to the passengers have the obligation to wake up those who are asleep;
36. I also insisted that because I already checked in as early as 3:30 a.m. while the departure time was yet 5:20 a.m. and that I in fact checked in my baggage, by deduction they can know that the only reason that I did not show up to the announcement should only be that I fell asleep;
37. And if the only conclusion left when the passenger being announced did not show up is he or she was asleep, they should have at least the temerity to wake up all passengers sleeping at the lobby seats in front of Boarding Gate No. 134;
38. I made clear to them that their contract of carriage are clothed with public interest that they are obligated to perform their best to serve the passengers and ensure that the purposes of the contract of carriage are fulfilled;
39. The airlines such as Cebu Pacific has the utmost duty to the people who place the fate of their lives and comforts in the hands of these airline companies,
40. Then I took several shots of the Cebu Pacific personnel through the same cellular phone and copies of these photos are attached hereto as ANNEX “D” series;
41. I also took photos of the lobby area in front of Boarding Gate No. 134 and copies of these photos are attached hereto as ANNEX “E” series;
42. A little while, a lady security guard and a male security guard approached me and I demanded from them that they should enter into their logbook what happened to me;
43. I was accompanied by these guards back to the check-in counter and a certain “Robert”, impressed upon me as their supervisor, attended to my demand to give me back my checked-in baggage;
44. It took about twenty (20) minutes for the staffer of Cebu Pacific to return my traveling bag;
45. After my baggage was returned to me, I took a taxicab going back to my office-residence;
46. The taxicab passed through the tollgate of the Skyway and we used the Skyway in going back to my office-residence on Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila;
47. To prove that I passed through the Skyway, I attach hereto a copy of the Toll Receipt as ANNEX “F”;
48. Now, to prove that I have a scheduled hearing for that day at the MTCC of General Santos City Branch 2, I attach hereto a copy of the court order as ANNEX “G”;
49. Due to this, I suffered humiliation to my client and his family that I have to profusely apologize;
50. Until this writing, I feel fears, anxieties and besmirched reputation, considering that they suspected me of being a lazy or negligent lawyer;
51. Aside from the client in that case, whose client’s name is Abdul Macalao Arsad, I also felt embarrassed because I had an appointment to meet with new clients that he recommended to me and I was contracted to be hired with an acceptance fee of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00);
52. After that hearing at the MTCC, I had also a scheduled meeting with my other client, retired Colonel Kadil Masahod and Roger D. Deocampo;
53. All these meetings were put to naught and I was embarrassed, too, and this contributed to my fears, anxieties and besmirched reputation;
54. I am a lawyer by profession and I am a member of Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Manila IV Chapter and my roll no. is 60944;
55. I have updated my IBP membership, paid my Professional Tax, and complied with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education as MCLE No. IV – 007338 issued 10 August 2012;
56. As a lawyer, our life depends on reputation with the clients and some of the community who would hire his services;
57. On the part of me, I charge for acceptance fees of P200,000.00;
58. In view of the foregoing, I am demanding a moral damage in the amount of Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos (P800,000.00);
59. So that Cebu Pacific would not do it again to other passengers and that they exercise more diligence in attending to their passengers and in complying with their contract of carriage, it is proper that an exemplary damage award of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) be slapped against Cebu Pacific; and
60. I reserve to state other matters.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I sign this Sworn Statement on this 12 February 2012 in the City of Manila.
BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
IBP ID No. 60944
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE ME this 12 February 2013 in Manila City, affiant showing his competent evidence of identity.
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