WATCH: Pageant organizer gives update on Samantha Lo’s passport issue 

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (Philstar.com) - October 25, 2019 - 6:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — Has Miss Philippines Samantha Ashley Lo’s passport problem been fixed?

Pageant organizer and trainer Jonas Gaffud, who was a trainer for 18 years at Samantha’s training camp, Aces and Queens, told Philstar.com in a press conference on Thursday that the candidate's passport problem is now “okay” but he cannot elaborate on it because it is still “under investigation” by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“I heard that she was deported from Paris… We can’t talk about it thoroughly because it’s still under investigation with DFA,” Gaffud said.

It can be recalled that Samantha was reportedly detained in Paris for 12 to 13 days because her Philippine passport was “tampered,” “altered” and was secured through a “fixer,” Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. revealed in a statement.

Jonas admitted that he, too, was confused on how Samantha managed to get out of detention and jet off to Venezuela to represent the Philippines at the 2019 Miss Grand International contest, which will hold its grand finals on October 25.

According to him, Miss Grand International might have different rules or mechanics that allow Samantha to still compete despite what happened.

“Ang alam ko lang kasi if you represent the Philippines, you must hold the passport, the valid passport, and the citizenship of the country you’re representing. So d’un lang ako naguguluhan, but I don’t know what’s the license agreement with Miss Grand International,” he explained.

“But if you’re with Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, even the Manhunt or other pageants, dapat you’re required na may passport and citizenship ka ng country that you’re representing, which is true naman.”

Jonas clarified that he helped organize the branding “Miss Universe Philippines,” but the Miss Universe Philippines franchise still belongs to Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Universe.

According to him, he applies Miss Universe’s passport and citizenship rule in the new modeling search he founded, Global Asian Model, which aims to discover the next Asian supermodels for the global market.

Jonas, who trained Pia Wurtzbach to eventually win Miss Universe 2015, explained that many sponsors want him to create a new pageant, but he founded a modeling search instead to pay homage to his early beginnings as a model scout.

Jonas founded the modeling agency Mercator Artist and Model Management in 2004 to help professionalize the country’s modeling industry.

The Global Asian Model Search, Jonas said in a statement, is a venue to discover talents for the entertainment, pageant and fashion industries.

“More than a model search, it is an engaging search where new talents are given the guidance and training by reputable and respected names in the pageant and fashion industries to hone their skills and talents,” the statement added.

The first Global Asian Model World Finals will be held on November 21, 8 p.m., in Cove, Okada Manila. — Video and editing by Erwin Cagadas Jr.

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