MANILA, Philippines?Two women lawmakers seeking higher office under the Nacionalista Party on Friday joined the clamor to investigate the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) for the unceremonious dethronement of the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe title holder.
At a press conference in Valenzuela City, Sen. Loren Legarda, a vice presidential candidate, and Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza, who is running for the Senate, took pity on dethroned 2010 Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Maria Venus Ray, who was stripped of her title a month after she won, due to alleged inconsistencies on her birth certificate.
Both lawmakers are advocates of women?s issues.
?It?s grossly unfair to anyone to be charged or to suffer for the illegitimacy, or for the marital status, of her parents,? said Legarda, reacting to reports that Raj?s parents were never married.
?No child, no daughter, no son, no human being must suffer the consequences of the marital status of his/her parents,? she added.
Legarda said it appeared that the Filipino-Indian beauty from Camarines Sur was dethroned due to questions about her citizenship. She added that organizers should have reviewed her background before admitting her into the pageant as a candidate.
Disqualifying a candidate after she won the contest did not sit well with Legarda, who had served as chair of the Senate committee on women.
?You will expose her to ridicule and national embarrassment. I think, something [was amiss] in the acceptance and qualification process,? she said, adding: ?I feel for her. Being a woman?and she?s very young?this is painful. She worked hard for it. She?s deserving of it from what I see and read about her.?
She said several beauty queens [who were born out of wedlock] had achieved success for themselves and the nation on the global stage.
The BPCI declined to comment for this story.
Maza, for her part, said the BPCI could not just unilaterally strip Raj of her title without first going through ?due process.?
?Apparently, there was no due process from what I read in the news,? she said.
?Women who join [beauty] contests work hard,? Maza reminded BPCI, stressing that the Gabriela party-list, a women?s group, would ?monitor? proceedings at the Commission on Human Rights.
?We will be closely watching the CHR proceedings and the decision on this case,? she said.