CebuPac officer in offloading incident suspended: sources

report from Raoul Esperas

Posted at Mar 18 2014 02:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2014 12:50 AM

MANILA -- A Cebu Pacific (CebuPac) supervisor has been suspended indefinitely over the offloading last Saturday of a boy seeking medical treatment abroad.

CebuPac's Mark Rotanel has been suspended indefinitely after he offloaded a boy with congenital deformity at the Ninoy Aquino International Aiport (NAIA) due to his damaged passport, sources told ABS-CBN News.

Airport sources and Rotanel's co-employees confirmed that the supervisor was asked on Monday by Cebu Pacific to submit a written report on the incident.

Rotanel was also told that he would be indefinitely suspended while an investigation is ongoing.

Rotanel will be temporarily reporting to the Human Resource Department of Cebu Pacific during his suspension.

The airline employee got flak after he decided to offload from Cebu Pacific flight 5J 751 last Saturday a 12-year-old boy with congenital deformity who was set to undergo surgery in Vietnam.

Rotanel supposedly cited the boy's damaged passport as reason for the offloading.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, deemed that the passport was still fit for use. But to avoid further argument with the airline management, the DFA issued the boy a temporary passport so he could leave for Vietnam on Sunday.

The boy's mother, Regin de Guzman Palileo, said despite her pleadings and explanation of the medical emergency, Rotanel insisted that the airline had the right to offload any passenger using a damaged passport.

Palileo said her son used the same passport in their last travel to United States but did not encounter any problem.

She also accused Rotanel of being rude by shouting at them when they insisted and explained why they should be allowed to leave.

In an earlier message on its Facebook page, Cebu Pacific said CEB's Guest Services team had already contacted the affected passengers and provided all necessary assistance so they could push through with their flight.

"We have also contacted Vietnam immigration authorities and arranged for the rebooking of the passengers. We pray for her son's successful operation," the airline said.

"We are looking into what happened and will follow due process. At the same time, we will be in touch with the affected passengers to ensure that their concerns are properly addressed. We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused them."

As of posting, Palileo and her son are now in Vietnam where the latter is set to undergo operation for his pectus excavatum or "hollowed chest."

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has issued a show cause order to Cebu Pacific regarding the incident. – Raoul Esperas