BINIBINING PILIPINAS CHARITIES, INC. STATEMENT
Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (“BPCI”) is bound by the rules of its Ms. Universe Pageant License, which rules were put in place to maintain the integrity and credibility of the pageant. As it stands, Ms. Maria Venus Raj is a Filipina as authenticated by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the same document she submitted and certified to be true and correct during her application and which was accepted by BPCI. However, she publicly refuted the information contained therein and further publicly declared that her kin wrongly declared some entries in her official birth records, as evidenced by her and her mother’s signed declaration.
There has been a lot of speculations about the decision of BPCI to dethrone Ms. Raj as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe.
There have also been calls for action against BPCI and against Mrs. Stella Marquez de Araneta.
The language in some communications has been hysterical, shrill, malevolent, violent and vicious.
We are clearing the matter now, so as to prevent further speculation and to set the record straight for all concerned parties.
Ms. Raj submitted to BPCI, as required, a birth certificate containing the following data:
Name of Child : Maria Venus Raj
Date of Birth : July 7, 1988
Place of Birth : Bato, Camarines Sur
Name of Father : Vincent Raj
Citizenship of Father : Fil(ipino)
Religion of Father : R. Catholic
Name of Mother : Ester L. Bayonito
Citizenship of Mother : Fil(ipino)
Religion of Mother : R. Catholic
Date of Marriage of Mother
And Father : October 25, 1987
The father is described as “laborer”; the mother as “housekeeper”.
The birth was recorded only three years later, on May 8, 1991, by Josephine Ramos, described therein as “Auntie”. Nicetas Landagan alleged that as midwife, she attended to the birth of Ms. Raj. The birth certificate bears the signatures of Nicetas Landagan (“Hilot”), Josephine Ramos (“Auntie”), and Asst. Local Civil Registrar Adela Z. Gonzales.
A Certificate of Live Birth is a public document and the entries therein are entitled to full faith and credit.
The Certificate of Live Birth being a public document notwithstanding, Ms. Raj herself and her mother have disputed the following entries in that public document:
1.PLACE OF BIRTH – Ms. Raj says she was born in Doha, Qatar not in Bato, Camarines Sur; her mother says she was born in a hospital in Qatar, a statement disputed in the birth certificate by Nicetas Landagan; her mother also says that Mr. Raj was not a laborer in Qatar;
2.NATIONALITY OF FATHER – Ms. Raj and her mother say her father was Indian, not a Filipino Citizen;
3.MARRIAGE OF PARENTS – Ms. Raj and her mother say that her father and mother were not married and that the date – October 25 – was in fact the mother’s birthday.
Miss Raj is also not sure of her father’s religion.
These entries in her Certificate of Live Birth, according to the mother of Miss Raj, were furnished by Josephine Ramos, who signed the Birth Certificate as informant and who was said by the mother of Ms. Raj as having been employed in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar.
Ms. Raj says she knew of these discrepancies since high school, but pleading poverty, says that no steps were taken to correct the entries.
Ms. Raj however, graduated from college and was, for a time, employed in the government.
Given the discrepancies between the recorded facts in the birth certificate and the corrections by parol evidence sought to be introduced by Ms. Raj and her mother, the matter of Ms. Raj’s removal as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe followed.
Parenthetically, when Bb. Pilipinas announced the removal of Ms. Raj as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, the reason given was discrepancies between the entries in the Birth Certificate and the oral and written accounts.
Ms. Raj thereafter went to her lawyers and the media and the speculations began. Her cause has been taken up by all sorts of interests and for all sorts of reasons and motives.
Let us confine ourselves to the ONLY issue – discrepancies in a birth certificate, a public document entitled to full faith and credit, raised by the very subject of the birth certificate itself.
We admire Ms. Raj for her courageous act in admitting the circumstances surrounding her birth, but we also have to render fair judgment on the grounds of MISREPRESENTATION by stripping her of the title. This decision is rendered with finality and the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. stands by it.
Comments and replies are welcome. Just refrain from using any expletives or cuss words in expressing your sentiments (or agreement).