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MANILA, Philippines – The recently concluded Miss Universe Philippines 2023 pageant on May 13 at the Mall of Asia Arena was not without its share of controversies and mishaps, as the pageant faced backlash surrounding the announcement of its Top 10 candidates.
SGV or SyCip, Gorres, Velayo, & Company, the contest’s official auditing partner, has addressed the issue surrounding the announcement of the Top 10 candidates in an exclusive joint statement with the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) organization, which was released to Inquirer on Monday, May 23.
“In the selection of the Top 10 finalists, a technical issue occurred that affected the tabulation of the judges’ scores. The issue was immediately detected, and upon detection, MUPH and SGV implemented a contingency plan to manually validate the results according to the agreed protocols,” SGV stated.
The joint statement further expressed SGV’s recognition of the MUPH board’s efforts, headed by Mr. Jonas Gaffud, in swiftly resolving the issue and upholding the integrity of the competition. “In light of the circumstances, SGV acknowledges the MUPH board’s commitment to promptly address and ensure fairness in the competition by allowing all 18 delegates to participate in the evening gown competition,” SGV stated.
The initially announced Top 10 candidates included podium finishers Michelle Dee from Makati City, Pauline Amelinckx from Bohol, Krishnah Gravidez from Baguio City, and Christine Opiaza from Zambales. They were joined by Samantha Panlilio of Cavite, Klyza Castro of Davao Oriental, Airissh Ramos of Eastern Samar, Jan Marie Bordon of Bacolod, Jannarie Zarzoso of Agusan del Norte, and Rein Hillary Carrascal of Sorsogon.
Despite the announcement of these Top 10 finalists on coronation night, host Xian Lim then told viewers and pageant fans after a commercial break that a technical issue had occurred. This led to the decision to bring back all 18 semifinalists to compete instead for a place in the Top 5.
The Top 18 redo paved the way for Pampanga’s Angelique Manto to clinch a spot in the Top 5, and she eventually finished as the pageant’s second runner-up. Notably, she had failed to advance to the “erroneous” Top 10 beforehand.
MUPH national director Shamcey Supsup-Lee has since addressed the controversy, saying: “As I meticulously examined the figures, I noticed highly improbable numbers, raising concerns about the integrity of the results.”
Despite the “discrepancies in the initial top 10 results,” she emphasized that their organization’s primary objective was “to promote integrity, transparency, and accountability in all aspects of the pageant.”
In the statement, SGV went on to explain that the selection of the final winners were independently tabulated by them to determine the pageant’s Top 5 and the final winners. They also emphasized that both parties were dedicated to “[upholding] and [preserving] the integrity of the process and the results.”
While both SGV and MUPH have already released their statements, there is still confusion among pageant fans, especially after Cebu Province’s bet Emmanuelle Vera claimed that she was initially part of the unannounced Top 10. As of writing, MUPH has yet to acknowledge Vera’s statement, nor release the supposed “unannounced” list of “correct” Top 10 candidates.
The pageant concluded with Makati’s Dee bagging Miss Universe Philippines 2023. In a separate awarding ceremony, Amelinckx of Bohol was proclaimed Miss Supranational Philippines 2023 and Baguio’s Gravidez was named Miss Charm Philippines 2023. – with reports from Jacob Maquiling/Rappler.com
Jacob Maquiling is a Rappler intern.