Binibining Pilipinas denies Samantha Lo's allegations over passport issue
"And it's official," Samantha Ashley Lo said on Instagram as she finally got her sash from Miss Grand International in Venezuela.
Instagram/Samantha Ashley Lo

Binibining Pilipinas denies Samantha Lo's allegations over passport issue

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (Philstar.com) - October 21, 2019 - 12:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. has released a statement answering Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2019 Samantha Ashley Lo's allegations on her Instagram account.

In a statement e-mailed to Philstar.com, BPCI said it is "aware of the unfortunate incident involving Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2019 Samantha Ashley Lo."

BPCI confirmed that Lo was "detained" in France due to passport issues.

"Ms. Lo was detained by immigration officials in Paris and was eventually sent back to Manila due to issues with her Philippine passport."

BPCI shared that Lo was detained due to her "tampered" and "altered" passport reportedly secured "through a 'fixer.'"

"The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officially stated that Ms. Lo’s Philippine passport had been 'tampered with and altered.' 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's statement read.

Lo, however, also has a US passport, which allowed her to continue her journey to Venezuela to join the pageant.

"Ms. Lo also holds a US passport and, therefore, a transit visa is not needed. Past Binibini Queens have done this and have encountered no problems in their travels without transit visas," BPCI explained.

The pageant organizer also denied that it did not help Lo with her ordeal.

"It is also not true that BPCI did nothing to assist her. Upon hearing of her situation in Paris, we immediately called upon DFA 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. We wanted to support Samantha and help her resolve this. However, in the last few days, we were no longer able to contact her or her family."

According to BPCI, they have been trying to get in touch with the Cebuana beauty queen to help her even more, but they cannot reach her and her family. They were just surprised with Samantha's Instagram post last Saturday night.

"Late Saturday night, Samantha surfaced in Caracas, Venezuela based on her social media post. We are very glad to know that she is not only safe but was welcomed by the MGI organization," BPCI said.

"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."

BPCI assured that in their over 50 years as a pageant organizer, they do their best in prioritizing the safety of the candidates they send abroad to compete globally.

"For over five decades, BPCI has been sending Filipina delegates to international beauty pageants and we have always adhered to travel requirements set by the countries where our Binibinis compete. Through all this, BPCI stands by integrity, honesty, and the best of Filipino values in its dealing with people and other organizations."

BPCI's statement came following allegations from Samantha that the organization "failed to equip" her "with the proper transit visa that may have enabled me to complete my earlier trip to this host country."

READ: Philippines' Samantha Lo breaks silence on delayed Venezuela flight for Miss Grand International 2019

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