WE, the undersigned, would like to appeal to your good office to re-instate MARIA VENUS BAYONITO RAJ as the representative of the Philippines to the Miss Universe 2010.
We believe that Ms. Raj has been unjustly dethroned as the rightful representative of the Philippines to the Miss Universe beauty contest this year. It is morally damaging for Ms. Raj that she had to be deprived of a crown she deserves due to circumstances that are not of her own doing.
We believe that Ms. Raj did not have malicious intent when she submitted her application as a contestant for the Binibining Pilipinas screening early this year. It was never her intention to deceive the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc., (BPCI) because her application was based on documents—including the birth certificate purportedly containing false information—that were legal at the time she underwent the screening process.
We believe that Ms. Raj has nothing to do with the purported false information in her birth certificate. Based on credible news reports and a televised interview of Ms. Raj, the certificate of her birth was made three years after she was born, making it impossible for the young child to have a hand in supplying the purported false information. We believe that Ms. Raj should have been given the option to correct through legal means the purported false information in her birth record before the BPCI made the decision on her dethronement.
We believe that due process should have been given Ms. Raj after the BPCI discovered the "inconsistencies" between the information found in her birth record and personal accounts of her birth. Ms. Raj should have been given the necessary counsel to defend herself from insinuations that she was responsible for the said anomaly.
We believe that Ms. Raj should not be dethroned on the ground that she was born out of wedlock. Every child, legitimate or illegitimate, deserves to exercise her right to pursue her own happiness and aspire for her dreams. By dethroning Ms. Raj, the BPCI seems to be sending the wrong signal that this is not the case; that one should forget about her dreams if she is born illegitimate; and that only those born of privilege can aspire to become Miss Universe, Miss World or Miss International.
We also believe that Ms. Raj is still the best Filipina representative that we can possibly send to this year’s Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. This is proven by the rave reviews of her pageant performance from esteemed pageant experts and enthusiasts the world over after she was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Universe on March 6, 2010 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Needless to say, her special awards—Best in National Terno, Best in Evening Gown, and Miss Friendship awards—also speak of her capacity to perform and represent the country exceptionally well in the international beauty contest.
We believe that the BPCI through the leadership of Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta has the legal and moral capacity to re-consider its decision to strip Ms. Raj of the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe title. We hope that this prestigious institution known for sending the most beautiful Filipinas to the international contest is willing to listen to our plea and come up with a re-considered decision that is fair, just, and humane to all the parties concerned.
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