CEBU CITY, Philippines—Two Chinese tourists were arrested after one of them held by the collar the husband of President Benigno Aquino’s eldest sister, Maria Elena “Balsy” Aquino-Cruz, aboard a Cebu Pacific flight to Cebu Saturday morning.
Han Yang, 33, and Xxx Mailiyasi, 31, were detained at the Police Center for Aviation Security office at the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City for at least seven hours before the authorities decided to bring them to Manila to undergo deportation proceedings for unruly conduct inside the aircraft.
Senior Superintendent Arturo Evangelista, PCAS deputy director for administration, said the two were sent to Manila on board a Cebu Pacific flight late Saturday afternoon to undergo deportation proceedings after Cruz and husband Eldon decided not to file a formal complaint against the two tourists.
He said the two were part of a 12-member group of online travel writers from Beijing who were in Cebu upon the invitation of the Department of Tourism to help promote Cebu in China.
Their 10 companions were allowed to proceed with their tour since the report filed by Cebu Pacific concerned only the two.
The tourists took the 5J563 Cebu Pacific flight, which was scheduled to land at the MCIA at 9:15 a.m. Among the passengers were Cruz and her husband Eldon, who were here to attend the wedding of Johann Young and Meyan Lim.
Cruz told the Inquirer that they were seated in Row 2 of the aircraft when two Chinese tourists kept walking along the aisle to take photos of the two flight attendants who were conducting the airline’s inflight fun games.
“They were not being careful about hitting anybody,” she recalled.
Cruz said that since the two kept walking along the aisle, Eldon reminded the two to be careful since they might hit someone or their camera might fall.
But one of the two grabbed Eldon by the collar and said: “Why?” and then “Sh__.”
Cruz said her husband instinctively elbowed the Chinese.
She said that at first, she got scared that Eldon and the Chinese might come to blows. The couple didn’t have a security detail and traveled with a friend who was also invited to the wedding.
But she added Eldon decided not to make a fuss and kept quiet because he didn’t want to cause a commotion inside the aircraft.
It was the Filipinos inside the aircraft who expressed outrage over what they witnessed.
One man sitting behind the couple said in a loud voice that the Chinese were so arrogant and should be arrested.
“There was a Filipino-Canadian on my right who said, ‘Oh my God, grabe siya. Why did he do that?’” said Cruz.
A flight attendant went to the couple to ask what happened. Eldon told her that he merely reminded the Chinese to be careful but was grabbed by the collar instead.
Cruz said the captain of the plane also apologized to them. The flight attendant told them that they would ask airport security for assistance once the plane landed.
Someone, who apparently was taking the group of Chinese to Cebu, tried to explain to the couple that the tourists were only taking photos of the flight.
“It doesn’t really matter to me what they are doing but why does he have to do that?” said Cruz.
She said she didn’t file any formal complaint against the two Chinese. But she said she was grateful to the people because “I could hear them saying, ‘This is my name and number, contact me if you need witnesses,’ they were telling the flight attendant. I didn’t ask them anymore. I just said thank you.”
She said she was happy that there were other passengers who saw what happened as the story could be turned around. She added the airline crew were also nice.
Although she didn’t want to file a formal complain, she said, “I just don’t like this happening to others. I don’t like foreigners treating our own citizens this way.”
“They said they were invited and we want tourists to come but don’t be naman feeling siga in our own country,” she added. With a report from Ador Mayol, Cebu Daily News