MANILA (UPDATED) - Two ground personnel of Cebu Pacific airline told airport authorities they were verbally abused by actress Claudine Barretto after she found out that their luggage were left behind in Caticlan airport.
Barretto, together with her husband Raymart Santiago and friends, arrived Sunday afternoon at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 via a Cebu Pacific flight after a weekend in Boracay.
Barretto allegedly started cursing at Cebu Pacific ground staff Cid Charisse Bocboc and Kristina Anne Ilagan after she found out that their luggage had been left behind.
Aside from not having their luggage, Barretto also got mad because their flight was delayed, Bocboc told airport authorities.
Bocboc said she asked Barretto for the baggage claim stub and description of their luggage for proper tracing, but Barretto reportedly continued her tongue-lashing of the ground crew in front of other arriving passengers.
Iagan, on the other hand, told authorities she explained to Barretto that due to weight limitations and for safety reason, their luggage had to be flown to Kalibo Airport, Aklan and that these would soon be brought to Manila.
Despite their explanations, Ilagan and Bocboc, in their handwritten statements to airport authorities, said Barretto continued to verbally abuse them.
Tulfo tries to record incident
Veteran journalist Ramon Tulfo, who had also arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 from Davao, witnessed the alleged tongue-lashing of Barretto and instinctively began to document the incident with his mobile phone.
This irked the group of Santiago and demanded to Tulfo that he surrender his cellphone.
Tulfo's refusal earned the ire of Barretto and she then allegedly shouted at Tulfo. Santiago's group then mauled Tulfo.
As of posting, Tulfo was still confined at St. Luke's hospital. He sustained injuries in his left and right eye. His lips were also swollen from the mauling.
Airport investigators learned that even with the presence of airport security who tried to pacify both parties, Santiago's group was still able to attack and strangle Tulfo.
Barretto denies verbal abuse
In an interview with radio dzMM on Sunday afternoon, Barretto said it is not true that she cursed at the airport staff.
She said she was merely complaining because their bags were left in Caticlan Airport and she needed the medicines of her son which were in the luggage.
“Pagbaba ho namin ng airport, naghintay po kami ng matagal sa carousel ng luggage. Walang dumating na luggage namin so lumapit kami sa ground stewardess tapos nalaman namin na naiwan pala 'yung luggage at ipapadala na lang daw,” she explained.
Barretto said Tulfo also kicked her twice when she confronted him about why he punched her husband.
“Lumapit ako sabi ko ‘Anong problema mo? Bakit ka nanununtok?’ Tapos bigla na lang humarap siya sa akin, tinadyakan niya ako ng dalawang beses sa hita tapos tinulak ako sa may counter ng sobrang lakas,” she said.
Barretto appealed to airport authorities to release the CCTV recording of the incident because only the footage can say who really started the brawl.
Cebu Pacific apologizes
Cebu Pacific vice-president for marketing Candice Iyog apologized to the passengers whose luggage were delayed but assured them that these will be delivered to their homes.
Iyog admitted that Barretto's luggage were deliberately transferred to Kalibo airport due to weight limitations of their aircraft from Caticlan. She said the safety of their passengers is their utmost concern.