The Complaints and Investigation Division of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) may seek for an amicable settlement for a violation of the data privacy complaint lodged by an IHG Philippines employee against the former acting general manager of Holiday Inn Baguio City Center seeking damages.
IHG Philippines and Holiday Inn are sister companies.
The NPC has summoned complainant Christopher de Vera of IHG Philippines and respondent Rachelle Pimentel of said hotel on August 6 for the preliminary conference wherein parties may decide if they avail of alternative dispute resolution, among others, said a July 12 order to appear issued by NPC investigating officer lawyer Danya Torres.
The conference via zoom will also seek for the: “simplification of issues; possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents to avoid unnecessary proof; or such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the complaint.”
Reyes in the order hoped that the two parties will settle the case amicably and will “be referred to mediation officer assigned or designated by the Commission to conduct mediation,…”
De Vera filed the complaint last February 24 where he claimed the violation of his privacy has caused suffering to his family “due to the unauthorized access and use of my data, concealment of breach, unauthorized and malicious disclosure involving my personal information,…”
De Vera and his family of two young children stayed at the Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre on February 13 availing of his rewards night, an exclusive rate given to members through their IHG Rewards Club program. Said hotel is part of the program.
However, the information he provided the hotel was used without his permission in filing an incident report with his employer (IHG Philippines), alleging that he violated the “Employee Room Benefit.”
IHG, however, absolved him of any wrong doing but he said the damage has been done due to the irresponsible handling of his information has, among others, “tarnished his reputation, violated my rights as an individual,…”
He added the incident also compromised his future earnings as a financial adviser as well as “damaged my morale and traumatized my family since it involves them.”
He said his wife has been traumatized by the incident causing depression that need clinical intervention.
In her comment on the verified complaint, Pimentel said that de Vera only registered his wife and none of his two children who were booked at room 413 of said hotel. The Inter-agency Task Force requires the registration of all room occupants.
That evening, the front desk received a complaint from a nearby room claiming that there is a party at de Vera’s room due to the “loud noise”.
Hotel staff had a difficulty in calling the attention of de Vera, when he did and was asked to move his children to another room because two guests only are allowed per room, he refused saying that they are too young. The same was reflected in the incident report filed by the hotel’s front desk office last February 15.
The incident was reported with the Department of Tourism by the aggrieved party from the adjacent room wherein de Vera’s reply was required. The hotel, however, was unable to contact him to answer the complaint against him prompting Pimentel to contact IHG’s Human Resources Officer so they could get in touch with de Vera.
Pimentel added: “The personal details of the Complainant (de Vera) were never revealed to any outsider and information was released as a consequence of a police investigation and due to the complaint filed with the Department of Tourism.”
In her defense, she said that de Vera “failed to state the information supposed to have been revealed by the respondent (Pimentel).”
She also maintains that she did not violate the data privacy act and asked the NPC to “deny the Verified Complaint for lack of cause of action.”
Pimentel is no longer connected with Holiday Inn said hotel lawyer Perlita Chan Rondez but they will fight the complaint lodged by de Vera.