MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang and Vice President Jejomar Binay congratulated Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon for finishing first runner up in the 2012 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila).
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Filipinos are proud of Tugonon even if she was not able to clinch the crown.
"From her winning as Binibining Pilipinas to representing our proud nation on the stage of Miss Universe, the Filipino people have supported Ms. Tugonon throughout her journey and in the hearts of our countrymen; she is our winner, our Miss Philippines," Valte said.
Binay, for his part, said Tugonon’s first runner-up finish is a “triumph for the Filipino people and the perfect way to end the year.”
Binay said Tugonon indeed proved that Filipinos have what it takes to stand out in the global arena.
“She has captured the hearts of the judges, our kababayans, and the people around the world who watched the pageant. Truly, she is the epitome of beauty, brains, and Filipina empowerment,” the Vice President added.
Tugonon, 23, graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in pharmacy.
Miss USA Olivia Culpo brought home the top prize. Miss Venezuela Irene Sofia Esser quintero placed third while Miss Australia and Miss Brazil rounded out the top five.
In 1999, Miss Philippines Miriam Quiambao was also named first runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant. Last year, Shamcey Supsup won third runner-up, while in 2010, Venus Raj won fourth runner-up.
The last time Miss Philippines won the Miss Universe crown was in 1973 with Margie Moran. The first time was with Gloria Diaz in 1969. – With a report from ANC