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    Michele Gumabao breaks her silence on Miss Universe Philippines controversy

    MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe Philippines 2nd runner-up Michele Gumabao has finally broken her silence amid the pageant's controversy.

    The beauty queen revealed on her latest vlog her side of the story following the alleged accusations of cheating hurled after Rabiya Mateo was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2020.

    Michele Gumabao breaks her silence on Miss Universe Philippines controversy
    Michele Gumabao (left) revealed on her latest vlog her side of the story after the accusations against Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo (right).

    In an almost an-hour vlog, Michele said she wanted to speak up because she wanted to empower women not to be scared to tell the "truth." She began, "I am speaking up for myself. I am empowering myself. I am fighting for my story. I am fighting for my experiences."

    "Because people have been trying to taint my name, and drag me down [with] so many issues that are not real and didn’t happen. I’m not sharing all this to attack anyone or to hurt anyone,” Michele explained.

    The beauty queen said she didn't want to have regrets and it was a way for her to move on.

    “I heard things I never should have heard, witnessed things I never should have witnessed as a candidate," she wrote on the description of the vlog.

    Michele shared that before heading to Baguio for the pageant, she was in an incident that left her "devastated." It made her seriously ill with injuries that she passed out and collapsed.

    During the pageant, Michele said she struggled to keep up with her injuries and the stress of the competition. She said, “More than the pain, more than the struggle these past few weeks, it was more of the schedule that we really had to keep up with that gave me so much pressure, and that gave me… That was difficult for me.”

    Michele said she started receiving "cryptic messages" about the results of the competition the night after they filmed the preliminaries and coronation event. At around 3:am, she said she couldn't hold her emotions anymore when said she "heard things that I wasn’t supposed to hear.”

    "Early morning of the 25th at around 3 am, I heard things that I wasn’t supposed to hear and it hurt. I must admit I went back to my room and I cried so hard,” she said.

    She continued that she felt hurt, heartbroken and devastated and was already ready to leave the competition. But she was able to control herself eventually.

    When Rabiya was crowned, Michele said she then sent a text to Miss Universe Philippines creative director Jonas Gaffud and explained why she was leaving. She also sent her congratulations to Rabiya.

    She said in the end, she didn't have any regrets in joining Miss Universe Philippines 2020. Michele said, "This maybe my purpose – not to wear a crown of jewels but maybe to wear a crown of thorns and in both, I praise God, in both I’ll be happy, in both I will use and empower others through this.”

    You can watch the full video here:


    —Sally, The Summit Express

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