Macalintal to Sofitel: Just admit you're wrong and apologize

By Kathlyn dela Cruz,

Posted at Jun 06 2014 03:47 PM | Updated as of Jun 06 2014 11:47 PM

MANILA - Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said he is open to an amicable settlement with Sofitel Philippine Plaza provided that the 5-star hotel admits its mistake and issues a public apology to senior citizens.

"Madali naman sa akin eh. Just admit na mali sila and apologize to senior citizens," the 67-year-old Macalintal said Friday on ANC.

The lawyer sued the executives of Sofitel for allegedly violating the law on discounts for senior citizens for denying him his 20 percent discount when he dined at the hotel's restaurant.

In his complaint, he said the management only gave him 50 percent off his meal -- to which he was entitled to being a holder of a Sofitel Accor Advantage card -- but denied him the 20 percent mandatory discount for senior citizens.

The Sofitel, for its part, has argued that it does not honor double discounts.

Speaking to "Mornings @ ANC," Macalintal said he is doing this not just for himself but for all the senior citizens in the country.

He said he also wants to ensure that there is proper implementation of the law, and that those who violate it will be penalized.

"Hindi para sa akin ito. Ito ay para magkaroon tayo ng increased awarenes of the rights and privileges of senior citizens. At yung mga establishments na yan, tatanda rin kayo, hindi naman kayo habangbuhay na bata," he said.

The lawyer maintained that the hotel cannot use the "double discount" claim since first of all, being a member of the Sofitel Accor Advantage was not a promo of the hotel. It was a privilege that he bought, he said.

He said only promos that are approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) can be counted when claiming the "double discounts" defense.

Moreover, promos should run for only a short period of time and not for a whole year or more, he added, stressing that he pays P8,800 a year for the card.

"Di ho kayo naka-promo eh. Kasi ito ay binili ko. Ang promo means hindi mo binabayaran."

"Iba naman kako yung karapatang binayaran ko at yung karapatang ibinibigay sa akin ng batas. It's a big difference," he said.

Macalintal said if the case progresses, and the hotel still does not admit to its mistake and issue an apology, then he would also file a motion for the cancellation of its business permit.

"Kailangang mabigyan ng warning ang mga taong ito," he said.

He also urged other senior citizens to file cases when they are denied of their rights by establishments.