Rabiya Mateo, a 24-year old cum laude graduate from Iloilo, was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2020, edging out 44 other candidates in the semi-virtual pageant held Sunday in Baguio City.
A native of Balasan, Mateo, whom netizens said is a dead ringer for 2011 Bb. Pilipinas Universe winner Shamcey Supsup-Lee, was crowned by outgoing titlist Gazini Ganados.
However, a series of cryptic posts on Instagram from Taguig bet Sandra Lemonon had Miss Universe Philippines fans asking whether there was more than meets the eye during yesterday's coronation.
“Get ready loves, tomorrow I will be announcing big news, it’s time to be honest and speak facts,” read Lemonon's IG story.
“The truth always comes out, It’s just about timing Karma is real soon, Because we deserve justice,” she added.
By Sunday afternoon, Lemonon was trending on Twitter Philippines, with wnplaying her provocative post as mere sourgraping.
Supsup-Lee, now a national director of Miss Universe Philippines, posted on her social media account: “To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility – these are the marks of a true QUEEN.” Lemonon posted another IG story that appeared to be in response to Supsup-Lee's statement: “Get your tea. Accepting defeat graciously is one of the many marks of being a beauty queen. But what you forgot to say is that real queens play fair don’t cheat.”
During the final Q&A portion, Mateo was asked two questions. The first question was: “If you could create a new paper currency with the image of any Filipino on it, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?”
“I would want to use the face of Miriam Defensor-Santiago. For those who don't know, she was an Ilongga, but what I admire about her is that she used her knowledge, her voice to serve the country, and I want to be somebody like her, somebody who puts her heart, her passion into action, and after all, she is the best president that we never had,” said Mateo, who also won Best in Swimsuit during the preliminary competition.
For the second question, the 5-foot-7 lass was asked about the relevance of beauty pageants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a candidate, I know I'm not just the face of Iloilo City, but I am here carrying hope and as a symbol of light in the darkest times. I want to help my community, I want to use my strength to make an impact, and that is the essence of beauty pageants, it gives us the power to make a difference,” Mateo said.
Parañaque’s Maria Ysabella Ysmael, niece of former Miss Universe Margie Moran and Best in Evening Gown winner, was named 1st runner-up, while Quezon City’s Michele Gumabao finished as 2nd runner-up.
Bohol’s Pauline Amelinckx, who bagged the Face of the Universe, Miss Creamsilk and two other special awards, was named 3rd runner-up. Rounding up the Top 5 was Cavite’s Kimberly Hakenson, a flight attendant.