MANILA -- (UPDATED) Rabiya Mateo turned emotional as she addressed the controversy surrounding her victory in the Miss Universe Philippines pageant over the weekend.
In a virtual interview with MJ Marfori of TV5 on Sunday, the beauty queen from Iloilo tried to hold back her tears as she admitted that people did not expect her to win the coveted crown.
"To be honest po, maybe I wasn't a frontrunner so people didn't expect me to win. And now that I have the crown... I'm sorry, I'm being emotional," Mateo said.
Responding to accusations that she brought her own glam team and had prior knowledge of the question to be asked to her during the final round of the pageant, she went on: "They're questioning my capability as a person, as a candidate... But I know that I did everything and anything that I could during that night, and ibinigay ko talaga."
"And 'yung mga nagsasabi na the question was given to me that's why I answered that way, it wasn't given po sa akin," she stressed. "I did everything that I could because I want to make Iloilo City proud."
While she admitted that the accusations were "painful," Mateo said she chooses to take the high road and be more understanding of the situation.
"Of course it was painful because there are things na you can settle by talking with each other... At the end of the day, this is a competition. And being the bigger person in the picture, I need to understand where they are coming from," she said.
Mateo was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2020 on Sunday, besting 45 candidates from different parts of the country.
Maria Ysabella Ysmael of Parañaque was proclaimed first runner-up, followed by Michele Gumabao of Quezon City, Pauline Amelinckx of Bohol, and Kimberly Hakenson of Cavite.
'FAIR AND SQUARE'
In an interview with ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo on Monday, Mateo reiterated that she won the Miss Universe Philippines crown "fair and square."
"Dahil ako ang nanalo, baka 'yung iba they have doubts about my capability, and hindi natin 'yun maiiwasan. But I know that I played the game fair and square, and let's just wait for the official announcement and statement of the Miss Universe Philippines [organization]," she said.
Instead of dwelling on the comments, Mateo said she would rather focus on proving her bashers wrong by working even harder for the Miss Universe competition.
"Ngayon po mas iniisip ko na lang na may laban pa akong papasukin, at ipu-prove ko na lang po 'yung self ko sa mga tao... Papatunayan ko na lang po na hindi po ako 'yung ganoong tao na dini-describe nila."