After being questioned about her support for Rabiya Mateo, former Miss Universe Catriona Gray found herself in hot water anew as several Filipino netizens criticized her over a tweet which appeared to many as insensitive to the Philippines' current candidate.
On Twitter, Gray named six countries that stood out, based on her opinion, during the much-awaited national costume show.
It was noticeable that the Philippines was not in her list, which included Indonesia, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
This prompted many fans to hit back at Gray, with some saying she should have kept it to herself, fearing that it might affect Mateo’s confidence and chances of winning the pageant.
“Cat should have kept her opinion and not publicize it... We all know that she is really a big influencer in beauty pageants so it will somehow affect the chances of Rabiya... Ka-sad lang,” one netizen said.
“It's okay to express your thoughts and opinions, everyone is entitled to that. Pero there are things that we have to keep [to] ourselves, lalo na kung makakaapekto ito sa candidate ng sarili nating bansa,” another commenter quipped.
Meanwhile, other netizens were quick to defend the Miss Universe 2018 titleholder, asking them to respect her opinion.
“Diyos ko, marami na namang magagalit kasi di niya nabanggit ang Philippines. Respect her opinion, guys. Saka may prelims pa naman sa Sabado,” a Twitter user said.
Some also stressed that national costume has no bearing in the competition and asked the public to just continue supporting Mateo.
“Not because she didn't mention the Philippines on her list doesn't mean na di niya nagustuhan ang NatCos ni Rabiya. Top 6 niya 'yan so respect! Saka wala namang points ang natcos sa totoong laban. Focus tayo kay Rabiya! Laban lang.”
In another tweet, Gray explained that her picks in the national costume segment was not based on the performance of the candidates, but on the costumes only.
Hours later, Gray acknowledged Mateo's performance on the runway in an Instagram Stories post, saying she's excited to see what the Iloilo native can bring during the preliminary competition.
"20++ kgs but Rabiya Mateo carried it with such strength. If this is an insight to her level of performance, so excited for prelims," she said on her Instagram story.
Shortly after the national costume competition, Mateo turned emotional as she apologized if some of her fans were "disappointed" with her performance, stressing that she did her best.
"I'm so sorry kung na-disappoint man kayo sa akin. But I know na I did my best. I even cut my finger earlier and 'yung stockings ko puno na rin siya ng dugo. But I kept fighting," she said in an Instagram livestream.
Mateo is gearing up for the May 16 finals night (morning of May 17 in Manila), as she eyes the fifth Miss Universe crown for the country.