Herlene Budol’s manager Wilbert Tolentino alleges ‘crown-buying’ in Miss Planet International pageant

Wilbert Tolentino (left) and Bb. Pilipinas first runner-up Herlene Nicole Budol/ARMIN P. ADINA

Wilbert Tolentino (left) and Bb. Pilipinas first runner-up Herlene Nicole Budol/ARMIN P. ADINA

MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipinos are already celebrating Maria Luisa Varela’s victory in the Miss Planet International pageant held in Cambodia on Jan. 29, but talent manager Wilbert Tolentino warns them to hold their horses.

“Huwag po muna tayo magdiwang sa pagkapanalo ng Miss Planet Philippines sa international stage ng MPI (Do not celebrate Miss Planet Philippines’ victory on the international stage of MPI),” he said in a lengthy Facebook post, that also included screenshots of several private conversations.

“FYI lang po guys, bayad po ang korona, ang napanalunan ng Miss Planet Philippines, at alam na niya ang final question bago siya lumipad ng Cambodia para sumabak sa MPI (FYI only guys, the crown has been paid for, what Miss Planet Philippines won, and she already knew the final question before she flew to Cambodia to compete in MPI),” he continued.

The post also showed a screenshot of a conversation with a certain “Miki” saying that the international pageant’s owner is after Tolentino’s money. The conversation also showed that this “Miki” said he was the global tilt’s first national director for the Philippines. In a Facebook post on Jan. 20, the international pageant organization recognized a certain Michael “Miki” Antonio as the country’s national director for 2023.

Tolentino also directed his tirades at Varela. He said she should have fought fairly, and told her to have pity on the other delegates who traveled all the way to Cambodia. “Deserve mo itong post ko (you deserve this post),” he said.

In an earlier post, the talent manager insisted he still holds the license to send the Philippines’ official representative to the Miss Planet International pageant. He initially chose his ward, Binibining Pilipinas first runner-up Herlene Nicole Budol, as the country’s delegate, and brought with him a huge Filipino contingent to Kampla, Uganda, where it was supposed to be held in November last year.

He withdrew Budol from the competition after several other delegates left the contest, when the local organizers reportedly failed to manage the situation amid the ebola outbreak in the African nation.

The international organization announced the pageant’s resumption in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh in January, and recognized Varela as the Philippines’ official delegate.

Tolentino accused both Antonio and Varela of bypassing his authority, and are now playing victim. Another of his screenshots showed his messages to the new queen, warning her not to fall prey to the international pageant. He even offered to handle her participation in this year’s Bb. Pilipinas pageant.

The talent manager said he already told both Antonio and Varela that more than 60 other countries have also expressed disinterest in the international pageant because of the trauma they suffered from the organization. EDV


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