MANILA -- Former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson broke his silence amid speculations that he has allegedly been in talks with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) about possibly acquiring the Philippine franchise of the pageant.
Speaking to Philippine Star columnist Wilson Lee Flores, Singson said, “The franchise is already with me, but it has not yet been announced.”
“I think it shall be formally announced this January or February, when Catriona comes back again to the Philippines,” he said.
“’Binibining Pilipinas Universe’ will be replaced with ‘Miss Universe Philippines.’ Noon pa binibigay sa akin ‘yan, because I’ve been helping them since 2016,” he added.
Singson said he began dealing with the MUO when it held the prestigious competition in the Philippines two years ago.
“Instead of talking to many companies before, they just talked to me and I then gave them a non-refundable deposit of $1 million. Who would disagree to that, non-refundable? I gained their trust. Before the signing in 2016, they even first asked me to pay $12 million,” he said.
In a recent DZMM interview, Singson also revealed being involved in the mounting of the 2019 international pageant, which he said will be held in South Korea.
Amid speculation surrounding the Miss Universe franchise in the Philippines, the matriarch of its long-time licensor Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) already claimed early this month that it is still with them.
“It’s still with us,” Stella Marquez-Araneta told ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual, when asked whether the franchise of Miss Universe is staying with BPCI. “If some people are saying something else, let them talk about it.”
BPCI has been holding its annual national pageant since 1964. All four Filipino Miss Universe winners — Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona Gray (2018) — became representatives to the international competition through Binibining Pilipinas.
BPCI has been sending representatives to six international competitions: Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Supranational, Miss Grand International, Miss Globe, and Miss Intercontinental.