In a recent mini-press con in Makati City, dethroned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2010 Maria Venus Raj released her official reply to the conditional reinstatement offer of BPCI (Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc.) and her sentiments are as follows:
In a letter to the Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc., dated April 7, 2010 and recieved by the BPCI on April 8, 2010, I, my lawyers Atty. Geraldine Berberabe-Martinez, Atty Dickson Berberabe and Atty. Teodoro Pastrana, have demanded the following:
1. that I be reinstated as Bb. Pilipinas-Univese within three (3) days fvrom reciept of the letter;
2. that the declaration replacing me with the 2nd runner-up (Miss Nicollete Henson), be nullified immediately; and
3. that I be accorded all the rights and privilages appurtenant to the said Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title, including the right to represent our country to the Miss Universe pageant.
We have maintained in that letter that I do not deserve to be dethroned of my title because I did not commit any misepresentation. Likewise, I possess all the qualifications and none of the diqualifications prescribed by BPCI.
On April 10, 2010, BPCI has come out with another statement that “after due deliberation, we hve reassessed the situation pertaining to Miss Maria Venus Raj and have decided, for humanitarian reasons, that if she able to obtain a valid Philippine passport, we will reinstate her as the reigning Bb. Pilipinas-Universe”.
I wish to extend my gratitude to the BPCI for reassessing my situation. More particularly, I would like to thank them for saying that they are “hopeful that I will be that Filipina who will represent our country in this year’s Miss Universe pagant”.
However, I would like to emphasize that MY REINSTATEMENT SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY CONDITION NOR SHOULD IT BE BASED ON HUMANITARIAN REASONS.
I come from a poor family and integrity is our family’s wealth. Galing man po ako sa isang mahirap na pamilya lamang, itinuro po sa akin ng aking ina na ang integridad at kredebilidad ng isang tao ay napakahalaga sa atin buhay. BPCI’s previous accusation of misrepresentation has tarnished my reputation and has cast my doubt on my right to the title of Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. My family, especially my mother, has been dragged into this undeserved controversy and has caused untold suffering and pain to us all.
In order to clarify matters, I, through my lawyers (atty. Gigi Berberabe-Martinez, atty. Dickson Berberabe, and Atty. Teodoro Pastrana), sent a letter yesterday to BPCI requesting that I be reinstated without additional requirement of a passport. As I had stated in said letter, the holding of a passport was never a requirement for joining, and even winning the Bb. Pilipinas title. And accordingly, it should not be made a condition to my reinstatement. THE Bb. PILIPINAS-UNIVERSE CROWN IS A PRESTIGIOUS TITLE BY ITSELF AND CARRIES WITH CERTAIN RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES. HINDI NAMAN PO ITO DAPAT IBIGAY SA KAHIT KANINO ONLY FOR “HUMANITARIAN REASONS”. AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER I HAVE A PASSPORT OR NOT’ I FEEL THAT I AM CAPABLE O PERFORMING MY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS Bb. PILIPINAS-UNIVERSE. HINDI LANG PO PAGSALI SA MISS UNIVERSE ANG TRABAHO NG Bb. PILIPINAS UNIVERSE.
Eversince BPCI pronouncement, my friends and the media have been congratulating me on my apparent reinstatement. For purposes of clarification, however, I would like to set the record straight so as not to confuse th public as to the actual state of things.
I HAVE NOT YET BEEN REINSTATED AS Bb. PILINAS-UNIVERSE. THIS WAS QUITE CLEAR IN THE STATEMENT GIVEN BY BPCI. MY FUTURE REINSTATEMENT WAS CONDITIONED ON WHETHER I AM ABLE TO OBTAIN A PHILIPPIE PASSPORT FROM THE DFA. THIS MEANS THAT IF I DON’T GET A PASSPORT, I WILL NOT BE REINSTATED.
Consistent with my previous pronouncements and in interest of our beloved country which I might be representing, I would like to request BPCI to have my name cleared of any allegation and misrepresentation. This will erase any doubt on my character whenI represent our country to the Miss Universe pageant and to the international community. Since it is the intention of the BPCI to always protect me, as they claimed in their statement, I respectfully seek for BPCI to reconsider their position to include thr following (1) IMMEDIATEY REINSTATING ME AS THE RIGHTFUL Bb. PILIPINAS-UNIVERSE SUBJECT TO NO CONDITION AND CLEARING MY NAME OF ANY MISREPRESENTATION ISSUE OR DOUBT INMY CHARACTER, (2) SUBSEQUENTLY NULLIFYING THE DECLARATION REPLACING ME WITH THHE Bb. PILIPINAS 2ND RUNNR UP, AND (3), ACCORDING ME ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES APPURTENANT TO THE SAID Bb. PILIPINAS-UNIVERSE TITLE, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO REPRESENT OUR COUNTRY IN THE MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT.
I was in Camarines Sur from Sunday till Tuesday for two reasons. First, somebody sponsored my trip and I had to attend to the programs they have prepared for me and second, I wanted to gather my documents in preparation for my application for my Philippine passport. I have intended to apply even before BPCI statement came out last Saturday. The Miss Universe Organization (New York) contacted me last week. They asked me several questions surrounding the dethronement and I narrated everything. They told me to just go ahead and apply for apassport. And that was what I intended to do even before April 10, 2010 statement. And while I have vowed that I will apply for a Philippine passport and adhere to the rules and regulations of BPCI with respect to my reign a Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, I hope that BPCI will be kind enough to do its part by reinstating me formally without any added condition and clearing my name of any misrepresentation issue. I am ready and excited to commence the training for the Miss Universe pageant and I would like to thank all the people who have supported me in my plight. Maraming salamat po. Mga kapwa ko Bikolano, Dios Mabalos saindo gabos.
This issue is dragging further and Venus has not been attending her Miss Universe training sessions, obviously because she has not been reinstated yet. I truly hope that everything gets settled in due time because it is fast becoming a loss-loss situation, leaning more against her favor.
Image above is courtesy of Jory Rivera of OPMB Worldwide.