MANILA — Cebu Pacific was ordered to pay P2 million in moral and exemplary damages to a passenger who was not allowed to take his flight because of her psoriasis.
Rev. Magnolia Nova Mendoza was “put in a situation wherein she was being subjected to a rigid inspection through no fault of her, thus bringing so much embarrassment, humiliation and anxiety on her part,”Judge Edwin Ramizo of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 114 said in a 39-page decision.
Mendoza, an ordained minister, is a professor at the Siliman University Divinity School.
She was set for a flight to Manila from Dumaguete at 8:50 a.m. on March 2010 but the check-in personnel returned her ticket and asked about the rashes on her face.
Though Mendoza explained that she is suffering from psoriasis, a non-communicable disease, she was still asked to produced a medical certificate before she will be allowed to board the flight.
Mendoza was still able to book a flight the afternoon on the same day after she was able to produce a medical certificate.
Cebu Pacific insisted that they are only ensuring the safety of other passengers.
The judge however insisted that Cebu Pacific already gas breached its Contract of Carriage with Mendoza the moment it failed to allow her to board on the first flight.
“When an airline issues a ticket to a passenger confirmed on a particular flight on a certain date, a contract of carriage arises, and the passenger has every right to expect that he would fly on that flight and on that date. If he does not, then the carrier opens itself to a suit for breach of contract of carriage,” the judge said.
Aside from the P1 million payment for the exemplary damages and another P1 million for moral damages, Mendoza was also granted P100,000 in lawyer’s fees and P129,123 cost of suit.