Did Angara question cost Pia Wurtzbach crown?

Posted at 03/31/14 8:18 PM

Returning candidate Pia Wurtzbach (right) claps as Mary Jean Lastimosa (middle) is named Miss Universe-Philippines at the 2014 Binibining Pilipinas coronation night held Sunday. Wurtzbach, who finished first runner-up last year, had been vocal of her hopes to clinch the top prize on her second try. Photo by Fernando Sepe Jr. for ABS-CBNnews.com

Senator says 'no imposition' to answer in English

MANILA -- Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara on Monday clarified that he did not impose on Binibining Pilipinas hopeful Pia Wurtzbach to answer his question in Tagalog, addressing reactions from netizens saying the segment may have cost the returning candidate a crown.

During the finals night of the national pageant held Sunday, the top 15 candidates were each asked a question by a judge they picked at random.

Twenty-four-year-old Wurtzbach, who finished first runner-up in last year's Binibining Pilipinas, was the lone candidate to answer in Tagalog, as Angara asked his question in the national language.

"Okay lang ba Tagalog? Can I ask it in Tagalog?" Angara asked Wurtzbach during the question-and-answer portion.

The TV actress responded" "Opo, puwede ko rin pong sagutin ng Tagalog kung gusto niyo po."

Asked by Angara what she thinks is the greatest lesson a woman can teach the world, Wurtzbach answered: "Ang isang leksyon na maituturo ng babae sa buong mundo ay ang tiwala sa kanyang sarili, 'yung intuition po na tinatawag natin."

"Kapag meron kang intuition, alam mo kung saan mo ilulugar ang sarili mo. Kahit na hindi ka sigurado sa nararamdaman mo or naiisip pero kung alam mo sa intuition mo, magiging successful ka sa kahit anong gawin mo sa buhay mo."

Before wrapping up her answer, Wurtzbach asked if she could repeat it in English, noting that there were foreign members in the panel of judges.

The 11-member panel included United States consul general William Christopher, Sofitel general manager Adam Laker, Mexican ambassador Julio Camarena, and Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, who hails from Venezuela.

"Should I say it in English for the other judges? I don't know if there's enough time," Wurtzbach said, noting the 30-second time limit. "But intuition is very important. Thank you."

Pageant fans blame, defend Angara

During ABS-CBN's telecast of the finals night, netizens took to Twitter to react to Wurtzbach's performance in the question-and-answer portion, with most noting that responding in Tagalog may have hurt her chances at winning a crown.

Wurtzbach, who had been vocal of her hopes to represent the Philippines in Miss Universe, failed to take home any of the five crowns given out on Sunday. Aside from Miss Universe-Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas crowned the country's representatives to Miss International, Miss Intercontinental, Miss Suprnational, and Miss Tourism Queen International.

On Instagram, netizens also addressed Angara in voicing out their regrets over the segment, saying Wurtzbach should have won a title. Others defended the senator, noting that Wurtzbach was not "obliged" to answer in Tagalog.

"Sometimes in life we have to make last-minute decisions," user glamourosaah said in a comment on an Instagram post by Angara. "It was just so unfortunate for Pia to have made one in choosing to answer the question in Filipino where most judges couldnt understand. She was not obliged to answer in filipino anyway."

"Did it ever occur to you that by asking a Tagalog question you forced pia to answer in Filipino out if respect hence 30% of the judges not understanding her answer," user tonielicous said in another comment. "Sometimes, please think if repercussions before trying to make an impression to the public. It's not about you. Your scheme to go patriotic hurt a woman's chance which she worked hard for."

Angara: I voted for Pia

Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual on Monday, Angara said he made "no imposition" on Wurtzbach to answer his question in Tagalog.

He said that shortly after the question-and-answer segment, he explained Wurtzbach's answer to the judges who did not speak Tagalog. The senator added that they even liked Wurtzbach's point about intuition.

Angara also detailed the criteria for judging the candidates -- beauty of face had a 50% weight; beauty of figure, 30%; intelligence, 10%; and poise and personality, 10%.

The senator revealed to ABS-CBN News that Wurtzbach's standing, at one point, was tied with those of candidates Kris Janson and Parul Shah, who were crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Intercontinental and Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism, respectively.

According to Angara, he voted for Wurtzbach in breaking the tie.

Wurtzbach, who has garnered a strong following coming off her 2013 bid, said she remains grateful for the experience despite not clinching a crown on her second try.

"[I am] grateful that I was able to experience what it's like to be a part of the pageant world," she said in an Instagram post Monday. "When I placed 1st RU last year, I gave all my time, effort & love to my job. I had so much fun! I just tried again because I wanted to know of this was really meant for me. But how do you know if you don't take chances, right?"

"I'm glad I made it this far. No doubt that I learned so much from it. I'm a better person now than I was a year ago. Thank you to my mentors from Aces & Queens for teaching me everything I know & transforming me! & to my supporters for pushing me & encouraging me. THANK YOU!! Time to turn the page & move on to a new chapter!"