Update on Maria Venus Raj’s Birth Certificate and the Miss Philippines Contest

There is a birth certificate issue in the story of Maria Venus Raj re-gaining her crown for the Miss Philippines contestant for the upcoming Miss Universe Pageant.

There are translation problems in this reporting, so I’ll try to update this post in English, or clarify, later.

On April 13, 2010, Fiona Acaba reports in her article that

Binibining PilipinasCharities reconsidered returning the Bb. Pilipinas Universe crown to Maria Venus Raj after a series of investigations. The beauty queen felt relieved and happy to learn that she will be the one to represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant. “Sobrang natutuwa po ako na lahat ng paghihirap namin talagang nagbunga,” Maria Venus said. Her friends and supporters are also happy with the news because they believe that Venus deserves it. They are confident that Venus will make Filipinos proud in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant.

The Binibining Pilipinas Charities and the Dept of Foreign Affairs have stipulated

She needs to ensure a valid passport which the DFA will thoroughly check through a committee. … “Kung may pagaalinlangan sa mga entries sa birth certificate, humihingi po ang DFA ng supporting or secondary documents, school records, voter’s ID, baptismal certificate and there will be a committee who will be responsible for the recommendations,” a DFA representative said. He also made a reminder for all Filipinos who will be applying for a passport so as to avoid any problems in the future. “Ingatan po ang pag-fill up ng application form ng birth certificate at ibapa pong documents na magiging basehan ng paga-approveng passport at importante po na may integridad po ang ating birth certificate.

Yes, I know the Philippine language does not translate well. If anyone from the Philippinesreads this post, please jot down a comment for translation help to improve our understanding of the issues here.

In an article mostly in the Philippine language dated April 5th, Bernie Franco reported inconsistencies in the contestant’s birth certificate.  Franco quotes Maria Venus Raj

Sobrang sakit lang po sa akin ang sinasabi nila na I am disqualified kasi I am born out of wedlock and hindi ako qualified for Miss Universe (pageant) dahil hindi ako ipinanganak sa Pilipinas at kung may inconsistencies man po, sa tingin ko, hindi ko kasalanan ‘yon,” …. ‘I am Maria Venus Raj, I was born in Qatar, I was raised here in the Philippines.’”

When one examines the following paragraphsclosely, one can see that the problem lies in misleading documentationof Raj’s birth.

Inamin din ni Venus na aware siya sa inconsistency na nakalagay sa birth certificate niya na sa Camarines Sur siya isinilang subalit nagpapakilala siyang isinilang sa Qatar, pero hindi na niya inayos pa ito dahil sa simula pa lang ng competition ay alam na raw ito ng Binibining Pilipinas management. “Mahirap kaming pamilya, kung magulang ka ang iisipin n’yo lang ay pampakain sa mga anak n’yo. Iisipin n’yo pa ba ‘yung mga dokumentong ito na gagamitin sa pagsali sabeauty contest?” himutok pa ng dalaga. 

May isang rebelasyon ding inihayag si Venus hinggil sa kanyang birth certificate. “Ang totoo po ang tita ko ang nagpa-register sa akin nung bata ako kasithree years after (akong ipinanganak nang ipa-register). Ang nanay ko nahihiya po siya noon na lumalabas at magpa-register sa akin kasi tsinitsismis ng mga tao na nasa paligid niya,” pag-amin niya. “Hindi alam ng nanay ko na ‘yun ang information na sinabi ngtita ko so ‘yun po ang pagkakamaling hindi kasalan ng nanay ko at hindi ko rin kasalanan.” 

Nilinaw ni Venus na hindi siya galit sa pamunuan ng Binibining Pilipinas at ang tanging hiling ay linawin sa kanya ang dahilan ngpagkaka-disqualify sa kanya na sinabi pa nang matapos siyang makoronahan. “Sana linawin nila ang dahilan ng pag-dethrone sa akin kasi hindi po malinaw. Alam ko po nakapasa ako kung anuman ang qualifications na mayroon sila at sigurofrom the very beginning sana sinabi nila para hindi napo ako umasa. Hindi ako nagtago sa kanila, hindi ako nagsinungaling sa kanila from the very beginning may mga videos na makapagpapatunay nito noon pa lang. I know I deserve the crown at wala po akong nakikita para i-disqualify nilaako for that.” 

Because I don’t have the definitive translation, I can only guess at the exact reasoning. As stated in my previous post about this, I questioned if this was an adoption. If so, then there would be two different birth certificates for Raj. If this is not an adoption, but a question of illegitimate birth, then there is still the point of being discriminated against because of circumstances of one’s birth. If this is an adoption, the inconsistencies between two birth certificates would be because one birth certificate shows the actual facts of birth, and the birth certificate issued after an adoption shows falsified information placed upon an official government document as per the guidelines of the automatic issuance of false birth certificate upon adoption.

I may be totally wrong in my assessment due to the inability to read the foreign language. If so, my apologies to all involved.

However, it does need to be stated that the circumstances of one’s birth, or adoption, need not interfere with any life goal of a person. How one enters the world, or how one is transferred from one country to another as a minor child, or how one becomes the adopted child of married adopting parents, or how one’s parents later marry — are all circumstances out of control for a minor child. The child grows into an adult. Upon adulthood, a person must be judged by character, or in this case, beauty and qualities within the guidelines of a beauty pageant. One’s birth or subsequent marriage of parents or adoption should not interfere with the achievements of that person as an adult.

Maria Venus Raj: good luck to you.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.