RAJ, TOTALLY DETHRONED! – BPCI


The other day, Funfare published a story that Sen./Vice Presidentiable Loren Legarda, champion of women’s rights (besides the protection of the environment), was joining other quarters in deploring the dethronement of Maria Venus Raj as 2010 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe due to “discrepancies” in her application form uncovered barely two weeks after she had won the crown. She will be replaced in the Miss Universe pageant scheduled sometime in August (venue not known yet) by second runner-up Helen Nicolette Henson and not by the first runner-up, Dianne Necio, since she was 17 during the contest (last March 6) and not 18 by Feb. 1 as per the rule of the Miss U pageant. So why was Dianne allowed to compete in the Bb. pageant in the first place only not to be allowed to take over from the winner?

Anyway, here’s the full (unedited) statement of the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) in response to Funfare’s story:

Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) is bound by the rules of its Miss Universe Pageant License, which rules were put in place to maintain the integrity and credibility of the pageant. As it stands, Miss 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 Miss Raj as 2010 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe.

There have also been calls for action against BPCI and against its head, 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.

Miss 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 Miss 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:

• PLACE OF BIRTH – Miss 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;

• NATIONALITY OF FATHER – Miss Raj and her mother say her father was Indian, not a Filipino Citizen;

• MARRIAGE OF PARENTS – Miss 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 Miss Raj as having been employed in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar.

Miss Raj says she knew of these discrepancies since high school, but pleading poverty, says that no steps were taken to correct the entries. Miss 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 Miss Raj’s removal as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe followed.

Parenthetically, when Bb. Pilipinas announced the removal of Miss Raj as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, the reason given was discrepancies between the entries in the Birth Certificate and the oral and written accounts.

Miss 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 Miss 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.

RICKY F LO

By eklavumer Posted in kolum

2 comments on “RAJ, TOTALLY DETHRONED! – BPCI

  1. ba’t kailangan umabot pa sa ganito, kung kailan nanalo na sya. sana during the screening pa lang, at may discrepancy na sana di na sya tinanggap. kasi very vocal si venus na sa qatar sya early on the competition, at napansin ng screening committee yun. hay naku, if there’s a falsification pertaining her birth certificate dapat dina sya pinatuloy ng BPCI, ano bang klase ng komite meron itong BPCI. Ang credibility nyo is at stake…wala na ngang mai produce na miss universe winner eh puro pa kapalpakan…kalokah.

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