In a statement posted on the Facebook page of the pageant, BPCI reported that because of “issues with her visa,” Samantha was “detained by immigration officials” in Paris. She was then returned to Manila. Officially later, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Ms Lo’s passport was “tampered[ with] and updated.”
BPCI said her parents confirmed that her passport had been obtained through a “fixer” during a meeting last week with Samantha, her family, and DFA officials. BPCI added that Samantha holds an American passport.
The group has denied allegations that when she was held up in Paris, they did not help Samantha. The group, Miss Grand International’s Philippine franchisee, said they asked the DFA’s support to assist her.
We are grateful for Under-Secretary Dulay’s intervention, which otherwise could have had very serious consequences for Samantha. We wanted to support Samantha and help her overcome this. Unfortunately, we have not been able to contact her or her family in the last few days.
BPCI said they first chose not to issue a statement because the investigation is still ongoing.
BPCI has been sending Filipina delegates to foreign beauty pageants for over 5 decades and we have adhered to the travel requirements of the countries where our Binibinis compete. Nevertheless, BPCI stands by dignity, fairness and the true Filipino ideals in its dealings with individuals and other organizations.
Earlier, Samantha said she had some problems with her travel documents.
Although not plunging into the details, she said that my local organizer, who handled my travel preparations, failed to provide me with the proper transit visa that would have allowed me to complete my previous trip to this host country.
Filipino pageant fans were concerned that after she left last October 9, Samantha did not show up for the pre-pageant activities. The DFA earlier reported that their Philippine passport registry had no record of Samantha.
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