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Duty Free starts probe on Boyet Fajardo 'outburst'

MANILA, Philippines – Retail store Duty Free Philippines has set in motion a fact-finding investigation in connection to the “creative outburst" of designer Angelo “Boyet" Fajardo against store employees two weeks ago. Duty Free lawyer Mila Manzano said the store’s legal investigation department is leading the probe on the incident that happened inside the store’s outlet at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Parañaque City last March 13. "Tinitignan po namin ang statements ng mga witness [We are still reviewing the statements of the witnesses]," Manzano told radio dzBB in an interview. Fajardo – after purchasing items from the Balikbayan retail store – went furious after being repeatedly asked for identification cards to verify his identity during a credit card transaction at the store’s cashier. Despite being unable to produce any signed identification cards, Fajardo was eventually allowed by managers to make the purchase. But a seemingly unsatisfied Fajardo – saying that his time had already been wasted – threatened to cancel his purchases. He then asked the cashier – Marvin Fernandez – to choose between being slapped or falling on his knees. Fernandez chose the latter, then stepped aside sobbing while his superiors settled the matter. The entire transaction and the outburst were caught on the store’s closed-circuit television camera, a footage from which later found its way on the Internet. Friday the 13th The designer wondered why he was being asked to show other identification cards when he had apparently made three other purchases earlier that day, which fell on a Friday the 13th. In his very first purchase, Fajardo paid in cash. For the next two purchases, the designer decided to make credit card transactions, that all went smoothly. "Humihingi po ako ng paumanhin kay Marvin Fernadez kung sa anuman ang kanyang naramdaman nung siya ay lumuhod. Nahusgahan na ako. Wala na po akong masasabi doon," Fajardo said over GMA's 24 Oras news program Tuesday. The Duty Free Employees Association earlier filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights, and urged the store employees to file criminal charges against Fajardo. "Bakit kailangan magpaluhod, manakot ng isang emplayado na gumawa ng kanyang tungkulin [Why did Fajardo threaten and ask an employee to kneel before [him] when the latter [Fernandez] was just doing his job]," union president Dennis Mallari told GMA News. For her part, CHR chairperson Leila de Lima said: "Every human person has the right to be treated with humanity and dignity." Manzano said that Fajardo's outburst – the first of its kind in the history of Duty Free – has prompted the management to review its policies to prevent a repeat of the unfortunate incident. "We have directed our store operations division to review our procedures in order to prevent this kind of customer behavior," Manzano said. SOP She, however, maintained that there was nothing wrong when the cashier requested from Fajardo a signed identification card, adding that every retail store does the same thing for every credit card transaction. "That is our store policy even if you go to other retail stores kasi maraming incidents na yung customer hindi pala siya iyon kaya kailangan iyong picture and signature. Kaya we compare ang signature sa credit card sa isang valid ID," Manzano said. [It’s a store policy. There are incidents that some one else uses another’s credit card. That’s why we request an ID with picture and signature]. - GMANews.TV
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