For most Filipinos, Philippine bet Janine Tugonon is the real Miss Universe 2012.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte congratulated Tugonon for representing the country to the international pageant with “grace, sophistication, and beauty that Filipinas posses.”
“The Filipino people have supported Ms. Tugonon throughout her journey and in the hearts of our countrymen; she is our winner, our Miss Philippines,” Valte said in a statement.
“With the victory of Ms. Tugonon, we find even more proof of the exceptional characteristics of Filipinas and Filipinos to be truly world-class,” she added.
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Vice President Jejomar Binay acknowledged that Tugonon, who was crowned first runner-up in the recently-concluded Miss Universe in Las Vegas, gave “triumph for the Filipino people.”
In a separate statement, Binay noted Tugonon's victory is the perfect way to end the year.
“She has captured the hearts of the judges, our kababayans, and the people around the world who watched the pageant,” Binay said.
“Truly, she is the epitome of beauty, brains, and Filipina empowerment,” he added.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. said Tugonon’s victory “recreated the image of the Filipina as one that is not merely beautiful but intelligent and courageous as well.”
“We thank Janine for helping inspire us once again by continuing to make the Filipino leave his mark in various world competitions such as this one,” Belmonte said.
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Proud as he is of Tugonon, San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito however is not convinced that the Filipina beauty queen only deserved to be first-runner up.
“I personally feel that she (Tugonon) could have won. She was really stunning! (It was a) hometown decision,” Ejercito said in a text message.
“Miss USA (Oliva Culpo, who won the Miss Universe 2012 crown) did not even answer very well in the question and answer,” the senatorial aspirant argued.
CIBAC party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna also expressed frustration over the decision, which prevented the country from having its third beauty queen to hold the prestigious title.
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The 23-year old stunner would replace Culpo should the newly-crowned Miss Universe fail to fulfill her duties.
A graduate of University of Santo Tomas, Tugonon is the latest Filipina to attain the highest finish in the pageant since fellow Thomasian Miriam Quiambao, who was also first-runner up in 1999.