Binibining Pilipinas losing their integrity over anti-poor decision dethroning an illegitimate child


I really am not the type of following beauty contests and entertain issues surrounding these but this row caught my attention. All i know from readings in the paper and the net, Ms Venus Raj comes from a marginalized family from Camarines Sur and has caught my attention as what happened to her is a clear example of how elite people try to control people's fate in their own hands, like puppets.

Below, you will find related posts of Venus Raj and how her rights were summarily disregarded. 

I perfectly understand that the organizers have their own rules to follow as dethroning beauty queens before is not news anymore but Ms Raj situation is different from them as the former women who were dethroned have the following reasons: posing nude in a men's magazine, alleged disorderly conduct and clear citizenship issues.

Clearly, Miss Raj have already told the organizers about her personal bio during interviews before the candidates are accepted to compete in the tilt, with her surname alone, once could already surmise that she is from Indian descent. There are also a thousand and one ways for the organizers to know their candidates before they are crowned, they could have disqualified these women before they choose their finalists and not to embarrass them after they have been chosen by the jurors and crowned.

I pity Venus because she has a dream to be big and uplift their standard of living. I pity her because like many marginalized people she also has a goal and that goal was hindered by a careless and insensitive decision of the pageant organizers. 

She was asked by Boy Abunda during her interview about the discrepancies in her birth certificate and she never denied it and in fact she already stated the discrepancies during her interviews and she has never denied that she is an illegitimate child. But it is never her fault to be illegitimate. Changing the entries of the birth certificate require court intervention and we all know how costly it could be. Venus and her family cannot just have the judicial process rolling without being hungry as what is primary for them is their daily sustenance and judicial costs are out of the picture as they have none to spend for it.

The Binibinang Pilipinas Charities has lost their integrity. These have been done so many times to so many people. It has made a very insensitive move especially so to a marginalized family whom many can relate. I hope that the organizers will take a pause and reflect the hurt and embarrassment they have caused to venus, her family and her fans.

Let us reconsider. The organizers should extend their hearts to those who cannot fight them as they are helpless against them.
Venus Raj: “I Cried when I Found Out” Friends support dethroned beauty queen
Inquirer Southern Luzon – Reports from Ephraim Aguilar, Jonas Cabiles Soltes and Mar Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Maria Venus Raj was excited about her homecoming as a beauty queen that was planned for after the Holy Week, but before she could even set foot on her hometown in Bato, Camarines Sur, she was stripped of her Binibining Pilipinas title.

Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. broke the news of the dethronement in a text message to media organizations this way: “Today March 29, 2010, Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. decided, with a heavy heart, to let Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2010 Maria Venus Raj go, after the organization discovered inconsistencies contained in her birth records, in contrast to her personal account of her birth.”

Thus, the Indian-Filipino Raj will no longer represent the country in the 59th Miss Universe pageant in August.

“Yesterday (Monday), I cried when I learned that I would no longer be Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. I felt I was left with no other options but to wake up the next day without a crown,” the 21-year-old Raj told the Inquirer in a calm and gloomy voice.

She intentionally did not answer phone calls and text messages that day but she said the support she has been getting was overwhelming.

“Realizing there were countless people who believed in me, it gave me strength and hope,” Raj said in a mobile phone interview.

She said she could not thank her supporters and fans enough. “I could only be so grateful that people are there to stand by me. My family has been praying for me,” Raj said. She said two of her sisters cried with her. While her mom appeared to be tough, she knew she was hurting, too.

The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) has yet to issue an official document about the dethronement. Raj said she has not yet received anything.

“I am leaving this in the hands of the lawyers. For the meantime I could only thank those who have supported me from the beginning,” Raj said.

“Even if you’re poor, but if you’re educated, you would know what is right and wrong. You know what rights you have to fight for,” Raj said. She lives in a nipa hut in the middle of a sprawling rice field in Bato town. Her mother is a farmer and a dressmaker.

Raj said that walking on rice paddy dikes was early training for walking on fashion runways.

On the social networking site Facebook, hundreds of her friends and fans expressed frustration and anger at the pageant organizer’s decision to take back the crown from Raj.

“The Bb. Pilipinas Foundation should have made the decision when it was till screening the candidates,” said one Facebook “friend” of Raj.

An online petition to return the crown to Raj has already been created.

The Facebook page was meant to send a message to the Bb. Pilipinas Foundation that its decision to dethrone Raj was a mistake.

“These are not fair. She has all the potential to win the crown in Miss Universe 2010. So what if she is half Indian? Obviously, the second runner-up is favored by the charity,” said a post on the newly created site.

“To Stella Araneta of BPCI, God forgive you for the injustice that you brought not only to Venus but [to] the whole nation. By dethroning [her], you gave up the only chance of taking back the Ms. Universe crown to the Philippines,” said another post.

Still another post said Raj should seek assistance from the government to settle the issue. “Ask for a certified memo that will state her citizenship. According to the Philippine Constitution, if one of the child’s parent is a Filipino, then he or she is a Filipino citizen. Her mom is a Filipina. [It] just happened that Venus was born in Doha, Qatar.”

Several of the newly created page’s members also called for flooding the BPCI with e-mails asking the reinstallment of Raj as BB Pilipinas-Universe.

In Naga City, the executive committee of Ms Bicolandia passed a resolution expressing support for Raj and disapproval of BPCI’s decision.

Nene De Asis, chair of Ms Bicolandia executive committee, said they would extend legal and financial assistance to Raj.

“We are giving her financial assistance because we know that she was also stripped of her prize. We believe in Venus’ integrity and qualification. We are supporting her all the way,” said De Asis.

Raj was Ms Bicolandia 2007.

De Asis hinted that the decision of the BPCI was also an invalidation of the rules of Ms Bicolandia, which also do not admit non-Bicol natives as candidates.

Meanwhile, Albay Governor Joey Salceda expressed dismay at the ouster of Raj and her replacement by her second runner-up. Salceda said he would ask the organizers why Ms Diane Samar Necio, the first runner-up, did not automatically take the place of Raj.

“I know, this is very parochial, even trivial to some, but I am asking the organizers why the first runner-up, Ms Diane Samar Necio, my townmate, did not automatically take the place of Ms Binibining Pilipinas-Universe, Ms. Venus Raj, who was ousted,” Salceda said.

“Typically, we send a morena to Ms Universe, and Ms Necio was a morena beauty and she was proclaimed the first runner-up,” he said.

Over the past three years, Albay has had a bountiful harvest of beauty trophies. Last year, Melody Gersbach first won as Ms Magayon 2009 before becoming Binibining Pilipinas-International and a semi-finalist in China.

Necio, the Bb. Pilipinas Universe first runner-up, was a runner-up to Gerbasch in the Mutya ng Magayon Pageant.

Another Albay beauty, Ms Jane BaƱares, won as Mutya ng Pilipinas 2009 even after losing in Mutya ng Magayon but winning Ms Polangui.

alceda said these titles are a source of local pride and, to a certain extent, a uniting force for Bicolanos.

“We provided assistance to three candidates in this year’s Binibining Pilipinas (Raj, Necio and Santos from Daraga who was actually the winner of Ms Magayon 2009). We sent a delegation to China to support Ms Melody Gersbach,” Salceda pointed out.

Raj won the title from last year’s winner, Pamela Bianca Manalo, in a glittering four-hour pageant at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on March 7.

She was voted Miss Friendship by fellow candidates and also won the Best in Long Gown and Best in Terno awards.

She graduated cum laude with a degree in Communication Arts from Bicol University last year.

GMA 7 contract artist Krista Kleiner was proclaimed Binibining Pilipinas-International and named Best in Talent and Best in Swimsuit. Czarina Catherine Gatbonton from Malolos, Bulacan, was the winner of the Binibining Pilipinas-World title.

The three titleholders bagged a prize package that included a P250,000-contract with Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc., accident insurance worth P2 million, wardrobe and accessories from Cumbia worth P150,000, as well as cash and products from Natasha worth P50,000.

Raj’s fellow Bicolana, 17-year-old Dianne Necio, was first runner-up, while Pampanga’s Helen Nicolette Henson was second runner-up. Henson was also named Miss Photogenic, Miss Fit n’ Right and Miss Philippine Airlines.

Broadcaster Mike Enriquez, boxing champ Nonito Donaire and 1970 Miss International Aurora Pijuan were among the judges of the competition televised on GMA 7.

AFP reported that Raj had been disqualified after local organisers discovered she was born overseas and out of wedlock, a contest official said Wednesday.

Raj has been replaced by 2nd runner-up Helen Nicolette Henson (photo), a 21-year old model, host and travel writer who holds a degree in Journalism.

Henson , who stands 1.75 m tall, has been appointed the new Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2010 and will represent the Philippines at the Miss Universe 2010 pageant later this year.

The 1st runner-up, Dianne Necio, was ineligible as she is only 17 years old. Miss Universe requirements state that contestants should be 18-26 years of age.


Post a Comment

Please drop me a line: