Macalintal sues Sofitel execs for denying him 20% senior citizen discount
MANILA, Philippines—Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, now a crusader for the senior citizens’ rights, is suing the high-ranking officials of a five-star hotel for violating the law on mandatory discount for senior citizens.
The Pasay prosecutors office issued a subpoena on Monday summoning the top two officials of the Sofitel Luxury Hotels located at the PICC Complex, Pasay City, to appear at the preliminary investigation in relation to the criminal complaint filed by Macalintal for their alleged violation of the Senior Citizens Law or the Republic Act 9994.
In the subpoena signed by Pasay City Assistant Prosecutor Juliet Susan Garcia are Adam Laker, Sofitel’s general manager, and Mattheieu Chapuis, the assistant manager.
Both were required to appear before Garcia’s office on June 9 and 16 at 2 p.m. then and there to testify under oath or answer clarificatory questions.
In the complaint he lodged, Macalintal said the Sofitel management refused to grant him the 20 percent senior citizens discount on February 8, 2014 while he was dining with a friend at the Sofitel Le Bar Restaurant.
He is supposed to be entitled a 50-percent discount on the cost of food and drinks at the Sofitel for being a member of the Sofitel Accor Advantage (Accor) in which he yearly pays P8,800 for his membership.
According to the terms and conditions of the Accor,“[n]othing in these Terms excludes, limits, modifies or restricts any right or remedy, or any guarantee, warranty or other term or condition implied or imposed by any legislation which cannot lawfully be excluded or limited.”
Macalintal said the Sofitel gave him a 50% discount under his Accor membership, but it refused to apply his 20-percent senior citizens discount.
The poll lawyer who had worked for several politicians demanded for his 20-percent discount as a senior citizen as provided under Section 4 of RA 9994 but Sofitel management arbitrarily denied him of this discount on the ground that it was already “included” in the 50% discount under the Accor program.
Macalintal noted that that if his 20-percent senior discount was already considered in the 50-percent Accor discount, then it was very clear that he was given only a 30-percent by Accor.
“Sofitel is the one enjoying my 20% discount as a senior citizen,” Macalintal said noting that it was clear that he was shortchanged.
Macalintal said that Adam and Chapuis have been charged in their capacities as officials of the Sofitel because under the Senior Citizens Law, if the offender was a corporation, the officials directly involved or in charge of management would be liable.
According to Macalintal, the law also imposes a penalty of two years to six years imprisonment and a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 on violators of the rights of a senior citizen.
Macalintal, 67 years old, has been raising the awareness of the senior citizens of their right to use any government-issued identification cards, like driver’s license, voter’s ID, SSS, GSIS, Pag-IBIG, and the like, to avail of senior citizens discounts, in the absence of the regular senior citizens cards issued by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.
He said he filed the complaint since the “case against Sofitel may serve as a precedent” as there have been similar cases of establishments denying senior citizens their rights by claiming that their prices were already on “promo” or on sales promotion.
In 2013, the lawyer also sued two restaurants in Pasay and Las Piñas for also denying him and his wife the senior citizens’ discount.
But Macalintal withdrew the case eventually after the owners of the two restaurants publicly apologized and promised him to donate the sum of money to charitable organizations serving the senior citizens.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer has been trying the Sofitel’s officers’ side, but they were not available for comment as of this posting.
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