Sexual harassment? 'Amado Cruz too old, weak,' says staff
MANILA, Philippines – A staff member of longtime Miss Earth pageant sponsor Amado Cruz denied sexual harassment claims made against her boss, saying he is too "old and weak."
"Hindi magagawa ng amo ko 'yan eh (My boss would never do that)," said Jhana Bueno in an interview with GMA News TV.
"Alam mo kung bakit? Si sir ay napakatanda na at mahina na rin, una sa lahat (Do you know why? My boss is too old and weak, first and foremost)."
Several candidates had come forward with allegations that a pageant sponsor – who one identified as Cruz – had asked for their phone numbers, hotel room numbers, and sexual favors in exchange for gaining advantages in the competition. (READ: Miss Earth 2018 candidates accuse sponsor of sexual harassment)
Bueno also said that Cruz had been a sponsor for a long time, and no complaints about his sexual conduct had ever been raised before.
"Kung nagawa man niya 'yun, sana noon pa no'ng nagsimulang magkaroon ng Miss Earth dito (If he did do that, then he should've done so when Miss Earth was first held)," Bueno added.
Cruz himself had earlier spoken up, after photos of him with Miss Earth candidates began to circulate online. In these photos, the "old [and] weak" Cruz is seen posing with Miss Earth candidates. In almost all of the photos that went viral, the pageant sponsor is seen with his arm drapped over a contestant's shoulder or around a contestant's waist.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Cruz denied all the allegations against him and insisted that his involvement in Miss Earth has always remained strictly professional.
He said he hosted destination events and a Manila Yacht Club dinner party to help promote the country's tourism. He also said that he didn't understand why his sponsorship has suddenly been given a "malicious" meaning.
Cruz earlier said he was consulting with a lawyer on possible legal action moving forward. – Rappler.com