Former pageant contestant Roxanne Acosta-Cabañero
CEBU -- Organizers of the Miss Mandaue beauty pageant on Friday expressed hope that the annual event will not be dragged into the controversy involving former candidate Roxanne Acosta Cabanero, who is now making headlines for filing a rape case against actor Vhong Navarro.
Clarence Sanchez, chairman of the Miss Mandaue Committee, said Cabanero was one of the 15 finalists of the 2009 Miss Mandaue, but she failed to enter the top five.
Sanchez said he did not hear again of Cabanero after the pageant, until she joined Binibining Pilipinas and was removed because of a nude photo scandal.
Sanchez said he was surprised that Cabanero is again in the spotlight, this time as an alleged rape victim.
He said he is leaving it to the public to judge if Cabanero's allegations against Navarro are true. However, he refused to give any comment when asked about the behavior of Cabanero during the Miss Mandaue pageant in 2009.
Production assistant Shine Alivio, however, had a different story to tell, sharing a few things about Cabanero whom he said he got close with during the pageant.
Alivio described Cabanero as a happy-go-lucky girl, often late in rehearsals and tours, and always "on the go" as if she had a lot of other things she needed to do.
Alivio said Cabanero had wrote in her pageant application that she is from Tabunok, Talisay City but Alivio revealed that she is actually a native of Davao City.
Alivio also claimed that after every rehearsal, Cabanero would go to bars and discos with friends. The driver assigned to take the candidates home after rehearsals said that each time, he took Cabanero to different places.
Alivio also shared that there was an instance when Cabanero was late for shoe fitting, and when they had to measure her feet on a piece of paper, they noticed her feet were dirty. Cabanero said she came from the beach.
Cabanero apparently got a minor award, Miss Friendship, in 2009, but Alivio observed that during the voting for the award, she was very sweet towards the other candidates and gave them each a piece of souvenir -- a keychain with the girls' name engraved on it.
Alivio however, said he gives Cabanero the benefit of the doubt and does not want to judge her on the issue involving her case against Navarro.
Alivio said the Miss Mandaue pageant should not be dragged into the controversy.
The 2014 Miss Mandaue pageant screening was held Friday, with 54 young ladies hoping to be part of the 12 finalists.
According to Sanchez, they are looking for beauty, brains, and someone with a great personality. He said that since 2010, they have been doing background checks on their candidates.
Results of the screening will be released next week.