Binibining Pilipinas denies not helping Samantha Lo in travel debacle
MANILA, Philippines – The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc (BPCI) released on Monday, October 21, a statement on the status of Samantha Lo after she landed in Venezuela for the Miss Grand International 2019 pageant. (READ: Catriona Gray, Binibining Pilipinas queens cheer on Samantha Lo)
In a statement posted on the pageant's Facebook page, BPCI confirmed that Samantha was "detained by immigration officials" in Paris because of "issues with her passport." She was then sent back to Manila. The Department of Foreign Affairs officially later stated that Ms Lo's passport has been "tampered [with] and altered."
BPCI said that during a meeting last week with Samantha, her parents, and officials from the DFA, her parents admitted that her passport was secured through a "fixer."
BPCI added that Samantha holds an American passport.
The organization also denied allegations that they did not help Samantha when she was held up in Paris. The organization, the Philippine franchisee for Miss Grand International, said they asked the help of the DFA to assist her.
"We are grateful for the intervention of Undersecretary Dulay, which otherwise may have resulted in a very serious consequences for Samantha. We wanted to support Samantha and help her resolve this. However in the last few days, we were not able to contact her or her family."
BPCI said that they initially decided not to issue a statement as the investigation is still pending. However, citing Samantha's own Instagram post, they decided to speak up to ensure that "only facts are presented, nothing else."
"For over 5 decades, BPCI has been sending Filipina delegates to international beauty pageants and we adhered to travel requirements by the countries where our Binibinis compete. Though all this, BPCI stands by integrity, honesty, and the best Filipino values in its dealing with people and other organizations."
Read the full statement here:
Samantha earlier admitted that she had some issues with her travel documents.
While she did not dive into the details, she said that "my local organizer, who handled my travel preparations, failed to equip me with the proper transit visa that may have enabled me to complete my earlier trip to this host country."
Filipino pageant fans got worried when Samantha did not show up for the pre-pageant activities after she left last October 9. The DFA earlier confirmed that they did not have any record of Samantha in their Philippine passport database. — Rappler.com