Samantha Lo, the controversial Binibining Pilipinas queen who got embroiled in a fake passport scandal, missed the cut in the 2019 Miss Grand International pageant in Venezuela on Oct. 25 (Oct. 26 in Manila).
The 26-year-old nursing student from Cebu City failed to advance to the Top 20, and ends up empty-handed from her tumultuous global pageant journey.
Earlier this month, Lo was not sighted or heard of for more than a week after departing from Manila on Oct. 9, which raised concerns among Filipino pageant fans.
It turned out that she was held at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France, for carrying a fake passport.
She later confirmed on her Instagram post that she was indeed detained in France, en route to her flight to Venezuela, and was sent back to the Philippines.
Lo made her participation in the Miss Grand International pageant “Instagram official” through the said update on the social media platform, which also coincided with the global tilt’s uploading of her official photos on its official Facebook page.
The move surprised many, including the BInibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI), which issued a statement refuting Lo’s claims that the organization did nothing to help her get out of detention in Paris.
BPCI confirmed that Lo’s family admitted they got her Philippine passport through the aid of a “fixer,” and said it sought the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the release of Lo from detention in Paris.
Before Lo got embroiled in the controversy, she said at her send-off press conference at the Novotel Manila at the Araneta City in Quezon City on Oct. 2 that “some days are not gonna be your winning day, and that’s okay, we’re all human. We’re allowed to have that day.”
She continued: “I just take a minute and just think of all the things I’m thankful for. I just keep calm and then get back on my feet.“
Lo claims to hold dual citizenship, and carries passports issued by both the Philippines and the United States.
BPCI has yet to issue any statement on the result of Lo’s participation in the Miss Grand International pageant.
Before representing Cebu City in the 2019 Bb. Pilipinas pageant in June, Lo first appeared on the 2017 Miss Mandaue pageant stage.
She was later crowned Bb. Cebu-Tourism in the inaugural Bb. Cebu pageant in 2017. In 2018, she bagged the Best Model of the World-Philippines title in the Global Asian Model Philippines contest.
No Filipino woman has ever won in the Thailand-based Miss Grand International pageant.
Nicole Cordoves is, so far, the Philippines’ highest finisher. She was first runner-up in 2016.
Meanwhile, Latin America dominated the 2019 Miss Grand International pageant, with the crown going to host delegate Valentina Figuera of Venezuela.
Her court is composed of first runner-up Maria Malo Juvera Raimond of Mexico, second runner-up Arayha Suparurk of Thailand, third runner-up Carmen Irina Drayton of Panama, and fourth runner-up Marjorie Marcelle Correa of Brazil.
The organization also announced that Venezuela will again host the global pageant next year. /jpv