17 abril 2010

Dethroned beauty rejects condition for reinstatement


By Ephraim Aguilar
Inquirer Southern Luzon
First Posted 03:29:00 04/15/2010

Filed Under: Women, Lifestyle & Leisure
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Lawyers of dethroned beauty queen Maria Venus Raj have asked the Binibining Pilipinas pageant organizers on Wednesday to reinstate Raj without any conditions and to clear her name of any wrongdoing.
Also, the reinstatement should not be done for humanitarian reasons, they added in a letter to Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) on Tuesday.
The BPCI announced on Sunday it was giving Raj a chance to reclaim the Binibining Pilipinas title provided that she obtained a valid passport. The pageant organizer also said it had reassessed Raj’s situation and was giving her the chance “for humanitarian reasons.”
The Bicolana beauty was dethroned on March 29 due to inconsistencies in her birth records. She explained that she was too poor to go to court to correct the inconsistencies—which were not of her doing in the first place.
No requirement
“A passport was never a requirement for joining, and even winning, the Bb. Pilipinas title … Accordingly, it should not be made a condition for her reinstatement,” lawyers Gigi Berberabe, Dickson Berberabe and Teodoro Pastrana said.
Raj found another ally in fellow Bicolano, Sen. Francis Escudero, who said the BPCI should reinstate her solely on the basis of her rightful claim to the crown.
Raj, in a statement sent to the Inquirer Wednesday morning, said she was grateful for the BPCI for the reconsideration but again asked the BPCI to clear her reputation.
“Galing man po ako sa isang mahirap na pamilya lamang, itinuro po sa akin ng aking ina na ang integridad at kredibilidad ng isang tao ay napakahalaga (Though I come from a poor family, my mother taught me the value of integrity and credibility),” Raj told the Inquirer.
She said the accusation of misrepresentation, which the BPCI had pointed to as the ground for her dethronement, tarnished her reputation and cast doubts on her right to the Bb. Pilipinas title.
Internet angels
Raj has attracted an increasing number of online supporters.
A published report (not in the Inquirer) which quoted an unnamed representative of the Araneta Group as saying Raj was “snubbing” pageant training sessions, drew immediate Internet flames.
On the Facebook fan page “Petition for Venus Raj to remain as Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2010,” netizens rushed to Raj’s defense: “Spare Venus from that black propaganda. Make peace, BPCI. Venus may have nothing in life but we are the angels helping her. She has her family and us. Take note of that,” said one post.
Raj, in her own response, said she was ready to join the training session as soon as she was reinstated. She also said she had spent time in her hometown Bato, Camarines Sur, to gather the documents needed for her passport application.
Online survey
Raj’s raging supporters have also put her on top of an online survey of Miss Universe candidates on the Spanish website www.20minutos.es.
In a span of just one day, Raj, 21, a part-time model, jumped from number 26 to the top of the survey as of Wednesday noon with over 2,000 votes—overtaking 36 other Miss Universe candidates.


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