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PIA Press Release

Salceda dismayed over Raj's ouster as reigning Bb. Pilipinas Universe

Organizers asked to explain

by MS Arguelles

Legazpi City (5 April) -- Albay Gov. Joey Salceda was dismayed over the decision of the organizers of Binibining Pilipinas Universe replacing Ms. Venus Raj, this year's Miss Binibining Pilipinas Universe, with a second rank winner.

Salceda said he would ask the organizers why Miss Diane Samar Necio, the 1st runner up, did not automatically take the place of Raj.

"I know, this is very parochial, even trivial to some, but I am asking the organizers why the 1st runner up, Ms Diane Samar Necio, my town mate, did not automatically take the place of Ms. Binibining Pilipinas Universe - Ms. Venus Raj who was ousted," Salceda said.

"Typically, we send a morena to Ms.Universe and Ms. Necio was a morena beauty and she was proclaimed the 1st runner up," he said.

Raj was dethroned for submitting questionable documents to the Bb. Pilipinas Universe organizers, a ground for disqualifications under the pageant rules.

Raj was born in Camarines Sur but she studied in this city (Bicol University) and was poster girl of Albay CIRCA (Center for Initiatives and Research on Climate Adaptation), Salceda said.

Over the past three years, Albay has had a bountiful harvest of beauty trophies. Last year, Miss Melody Gerbasch first won as Miss Magayon 2009 before becoming Binibining Pilipinas International and was a semifinalist in China.

Necio, the Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1st runner up, was a runner up to Gerbasch in the Mutya ng Magayon Pageant.

Another Albayana beauty, Jane Banares, won as Mutya ng Pilipinas 2009 even after losing in Mutya ng Magayon but winning Miss Polangui.

Salceda said the titles were a source of local pride and to a certain extent a uniting force for Bicolanos.

The provincial government provided support, although private funded, these aspirations.

"We provided assistance to three candidates in this year's Binibining Pilipinas (Raj, Necio and Santos from Daraga who was actually the winner of Miss Magayon 2009). We sent a delegation to China to support Ms. Melody Gerbasch," Salceda said. (PNA Bicol/PIA) [top]

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