April 13, 2010, 5:54pm
Four days after local pageant organizers announced that she may reclaim the title, dethroned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Maria Venus Raj was still a no-show Tuesday at the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) office at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City to start her training as the country’s representative to the 2010 Miss Universe beauty pageant.
“The BPCI is trying to get her (Raj) to start training pero she has other commitments daw,’’ a source at the Araneta Group of Companies said.
“We’re running out of time because aside from the local training, our representative will be trained abroad. It’s an extensive training, not an ordinary one, ’’ another source said.
Other sources said Raj has not applied her application for passport, one of the conditions which the BPCI stated so that she could reclaim the crown.
Observers questioned the cold treatment Raj is giving to the pageant organizers despite the second chance given her. “Baka ayaw na n’ya maging beauty queen. Gusto na lang nya maging artista,” one observer said.
Sources said Raj should choose between the contract with the BPCI or the contract with her lawyers.
“She has to fulfill her duties as a beauty queen if she really wants to become a Binibini,’’ one source said.
Last March 29, the BPCI let Raj go “after the organization discovered inconsistencies contained in her birth records, in contrast to her personal account of her birth.’’
Second-runnerup Helen Nicollette Henson was later announced to join the 59th edition of the Miss Universe beauty contest in August. But last April 10, the Executive Committee of BPCI announced that Raj will now have the chance to represent the country in the most prestigious beauty pageant.
“After due deliberation, we have reassessed the situation pertaining to Miss Maria Venus Raj and have decided, for humanitarian reasons, that if she is able to obtain a valid Philippine passport, we will reinstate her as the reigning Bb Pilipinas-Universe," organizers said in a statement.
The same committee said, "We are sensitive to her situation, but we are aware too, of our responsibilities as an entity existing under Philippine law.