Five winners of Miss Philippines 2019 have expressed their frustration over unpaid cash prizes one year after their coronation.
Arlove de Jesus (Miss Philippines 2019), Jamilla Van Gestel (1st runner-up), Joanna Valencia (2nd runner-up), Camille Llorente (3rd runner-up), and Charity Dawn Jamon (4th runner-up) went on air at Raffy Tulfo’s Idol in Action on TV5 to express their grievances over the cash prize owed to them by Miss Philippines Foundation, Inc.
De Jesus was supposed to get PHP200,000 for her win, Gestel PHP150,000, Valencia PHP100,000, Llorente PHP50,000, and Jamon PHP25,000.
Llorente said they signed a contract that says runners-up were supposed to get their payments within two months after the coronation night, while the grand winner was supposed to get it within six months.
She said Victor Torre, the foundation’s president, issued them check bearing half of their winnings. Llorente said they confronted the president in January, who told them that their contract has changed. She said, however, that they were not given copies of the said new contract.
“Since under kami ng contract for a year, under the organization, ayaw nila [foundation] na biglaan kaming mawawala. Baka raw takbuhan namin kapag nakuha na yung full amount,” she said.
“Sinabihan po ako noon na, ‘Gusto mo hindi na kita ilaban sa international mo, ‘tapos ibibigay ko na lang yung full amount sa ‘yo?’” she added, noting that they could not encash the checks as they are bounced.
Since the confrontation, the runner-up said they have since found it difficult to reach Torres.
According to law consultant Atty. Garreth Tungol, the incident can be deemed as a large-scale estafa or swindling, and that the winners can file a case against him. If proven guilty, Tungol said Torres can face 12 years of imprisonment.