MANILA, Philippines – Some Filipinos based in Barcelona, Spain have filed a complaint against singer-actress Kristina Paner for allegedly selling fake plane tickets.
The news broke out after some of the complainants posted a comment that they were looking for Paner on a Facebook group shared by many Pinoys in Spain.
The group claimed that some of them weren’t able to come home to the Philippines because the tickets they bought from the singer-actress were not valid.
Mary Jance Cacho was among those who purchased their plane tickets from Paner. She paid the full amount of 785 euros for the ticket. She said she trusted Paner after a friend who also bought a ticket from Paner did not encounter any problem.
“Nagulat ako nang sinabi ng Qatar Airways na wala yung name ko doon, hindi nakasali. Uuwi pa rin ako kahit anong nangyari sa akin,” she said.
She tried to phone Paner several times but her calls were only received by an answering machine. “Sana naman magpakita si Tina para maayos na ito,” she added.
Cacho was forced to buy another ticket to be able to attend an event and be with her husband and family whom she has not seen after five-long years.
Jack Robert Bathan Dacpano also bought his ticket from Paner on the recommendation of a friend.
He immediately verified with the website of Qatar Airways his ticket after learning of the predicament of several Pinoys. He couldn't find his reservation as well.
“Nung nalaman kong ganun, pumunta ako sa pawnshop para i-verify yun, eh yun nga maraming nagrereklamo tapos may mga hindi pa nakauwi sa mismong araw,” he said.
Dacpano filed a complaint with the police and went as far as calling and visiting a pawnshop which Paner shares office with, but until now he has yet to talk to the singer.
“Sana lang makonsyensiya ka sa mga kapwa mo Pinoy na naudlot ang kanilang kasiyahan sa pag-uwi dapat,” Dacpano said.
ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau also tried but failed to get the side of Paner. The news team also went to the pawnshop where Paner’s office is located but the owner of the establishment said they last saw her on December 14th.
Even Paner’s officemate who also happens to be the daughter of the owner of the pawnshop bought a ticket from her.
“Tiningnan ko sa internet kung may reservation talaga ako sa Qatar for this March, nakita ko wala. Noong kinutuban na kami hindi namin binabanggit kay Tina kasi nga as officemate nakakahiya din naman. December 10 or 12 hindi na siya pumunta dito sa office. Marami nang naghahanap dito. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin naming siya ma-contact. nalaman naming hindi lang ako at marami kami. Pinuntahan siya sa bahay, wala siya doon. Walang tao, sabi ng portera 15 days na siyang wala. Hindi namin alam kung nasaan o kung ano na ang nangyari,” said Meritxell Guno.
Paner’s mother, Daisy Romualdez defended her daughter through columnist Wendel Alvarez. Romualdez said Paner had nothing to do with the invalid tickets, and that her daughter too was just a victim of a travel agent who fled to the US.
She added that Paner will issue a statement to clear the issue in due time.
The exact number of people who bought tickets from Paner was also not yet established.
Cases like these are no longer new in Spain. Just last year, over 200 people sold fake KLM tickets.
“First of all, you have to check if there's electronic ticket number. Check it in the website of the airline and checkmytrip.com. It has to appear one full number, issue date of the ticket. You have to have an official receipt from the travel agency, with number and stamp. And also you have to have a print where the office reservation or travel agency responsible to issue the ticket appears,” advised Isaac D'mello Valladares, manager of Spain Travel Corporation.
Filipino businessmen in Barcelona are concerned about the growing number of Pinoys falling victims to ticket scams.
“Doon po tayo pumunta sa talagang legal na travel agencies. Hindi sapat na sa inyong kilala o kaibigan. Komo kakilala lang ay hindi na kayo hihingi ng resibo at inyong siguradahin na inyong binibilhan ng tickets ay yung may opisina. At kapag kayo ay naloko na huwag kayong matakot na lumapit sa kinauukulan o sa malapit na policia upang malaman ang inyong karapatan at ipinaglalaban,” said Nico Cueto, president of the Asociación Emprendedores Filipinos in Barcelona. Report from Daniel Infante Tuaña, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau