An official of the Miss Universe Philippines said it stands by Rabiya Mateo of IloIlo City as the winner of the first edition of the Miss Universe Philippines franchise.
She will fight and she will not disappoint you. 🖤 HMUA: @sephmadrid28 Hair Extensions: Jaylen Pinto Photographer: @mark.caceres.photography Special thanks to @drtoledoph of @toledomedph #beautifultransformation #beyondthecoastlines #aribarabiya #halabirabiya #missuniversephilippines #muphiloilocity
"As of this time, we are standing by Rabiya Mateo as the first winner of Miss Universe Philippines," said Albert Andrada, board director of the Miss Universe Philippines, in a statement.
"We are also grateful to our sponsors, stakeholders, and supporters who sustained us throughout the holding of the first edition of Miss Universe Philippines franchise, amid the limitations of the pandemic," he added.
The fashion designer and creator of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach's famous blue gown made the statement amid controversy surrounding Rabiya's win.
Among the allegations thrown at the 23-year-old Ilongga beauty were that she violated the rules on the restricted use of hair and make-up personnel due to the pandemic, and that she was provided the questions in the final round prior to her coronation over the weekend. Both were denied by Albert.
In an interview with MJ Marfori of TV5, an emotional Rabiya also addressed the accusations against her.
"To be honest po, maybe I wasn’t a frontrunner so people didn’t expect me to win and now that I have the crown... I’m sorry I’m being emotional," she said. "They’re questioning my capability as a person, as a candidate… but I know that I did everything and anything that I could during that night and ibinigay ko talaga."
“And yung mga nagsasabi na the question was given to me that’s why I answered that way, it wasn’t given po sa akin. I did everything that I could because I want to make Iloilo City proud,” she added.
Rabiya, a physical therapist, bested 45 candidates from different parts of the country when she was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2020.
Maria Ysabella Ysmael of Parañaque was named first runner-up, followed by Michele Gumabao of Quezon City, Pauline Amelinckx of Bohol, and Kimberly Hakenson of Cavite.