MANILA – Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) finally broke its silence on Monday after one of its titleholders, Samantha Lo, encountered problems in her trip to Venezuela for the Miss Grand International pageant.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, BPCI denied that it “did nothing to assist” Lo, contrary to the beauty queen’s remarks over the weekend.
“Upon hearing of her situation in Paris, we immediately called upon DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to assist her, and they did. We are grateful for the intervention of Undersecretary Dulay, which otherwise would have resulted in very serious consequences for Samantha,” it said.
“We wanted to support Samantha and help her resolve this. However, we were no longer able to contact her or her family,” BPCI added.
The local pageant organizer went on to set the record straight regarding Lo’s passport, revealing that it was secured “through a fixer.”
“Ms. Lo was detained by immigration officials in Paris and was eventually sent to Manila due to issues with her Philippine passport. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs officially stated that Ms. Lo’s Philippine passport had been ‘tampered with and altered,’” it said.
“During a meeting last week with Samantha, her parents and officials from the DFA and BPCI, it was admitted by Ms. Lo’s parents that she secured her passport through a ‘fixer.’”
BPCI also reacted to Lo’s remarks that a transit visa was not arranged for her, pointing out that her US passport should have been enough for her to complete her trip without problems.
“We had chosen not to make any statements in deference to an ongoing investigation into the matter and to protect Samantha’s privacy after revelations of a fake passport had put her in this situation. However, due to her social media post, BPCI is forced to make a statement to ensure that only facts are presented, nothing else,” it said.
Read the full statement below:
Lo was able to make it to Venezuela in time for the Miss Grand International 2019 coronation night set on October 25.
The beauty queen previously mentioned that it was her family, not BPCI, who “got me out of detention and put me safely on that plane to come back home” after failing to present a transit visa in Paris.
She also hopes to bring home the Miss Grand International crown despite her recent setbacks.
“I have come here not only as the candidate from the Philippines but as the voice of those who have faced similar situations like mine, the voice of those who have been abandoned of opportunity and pressured to remain silent,” she said.