(UPDATE) Venus Raj given chance to reclaim Bb Pilipinas-Universe title

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2010 02:12 PM | Updated as of Apr 11 2010 03:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Dethroned 2010 Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Maria Venus Raj can now reclaim her title. She only needs to get a valid Philippine passport.

In a statement released Saturday, the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) announced that "for humanitarian reasons," they are allowing Raj to reclaim her title.

"We have reassessed the situation pertaining to Miss Maria Venus Raj and have decided, for humanitarian reasons, that if she is able to obtain a valid Philippine passport, we will reinstate her as the reigning Bb. Pilipinas-Universe," the BPCI said in a statement.

Raj, who was guest at ABS-CBN's noontime game show Wowowee, said she has been informed by the BPCI about the decision.

She said she has yet to consult with her lawyers about the latest development, but admitted that she is already planning on applying for a passport.
 
"Pinag-uusapan pa namin ito ng mga lawyers ko and ng family ko rin. Pero definitely, I will get a passport," Raj said.

The BPCI recently stripped Raj of her title due to inconsistencies in her birth records.

The Filipino-Indian beauty from Camarines Sur had maintained that the officials of the BPCI knew from the very beginning the incorrect entries in her birth certificate. She said she was transparent during the pre-pageant screening of candidates.

Raj had also vowed to question the BPCI's decision to dethrone her.
 
Commission on Human Rights chief Leila de Lima had said that Raj's case "deserves serious scrutiny."

De Lima said that she would like to find out if the BPCI gave Raj "her day" to explain the inconsistencies in her birth certificate.

The BPCI said in the statement that the decision to dethrone Raj was meant to protect the beauty titlist "in the way we felt appropriate."

It said that while the BPCI is concerned about the Raj's situation, it is also bound "as an entity" under Philippine laws.

The Bb Pilipinas-Universe has been handed to 2nd runner-up Helen Nicolette Henson.

Henson, a 21-year-old Broadcast Journalism major at St. Scholastica's College, took over Raj’s place after the pageant’s 1st runner up failed to meet the age requirement of the Miss Universe Pageant.