MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/21 December) — The Gabriela Women’s Party on Monday congratulated Pia Wurtzbach for winning the Miss Universe crown but took exception to her stance in favor of US military presence in the Philippines.
In a statement, Gabriela said it “joins the Filipino nation in celebrating Ms. Pia Wurtzbach’s victory for winning the Miss Universe crown. We commend her for raising the issue of HIV-AIDS as one problem that needs to be addressed globally.”
“However, we view that her position in favor of US military presence in the country contradicts her concern for humanity. We hope she will have a change of mind and heart on this issue by learning the history of our nation under US colonial rule,” it added.
Gabriela asked Wurtzbach to examine the “brutal killing of Jennifer Laude and other criminal abuses of US military in the Philippines and other countries and be a powerful voice to seek justice for the victims.”
Laude, a transgender, was found dead in a motel room in Olongapo City on Oct. 11 last year. The suspect in the killing, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, was charged with murder but was only convicted of homicide.
Progressive groups have cited Laude’s case as another ground for resisting US military presence.
Wurtzbach’s victory ended the country’s 42-year title drought in the Miss Universe contest.
The previous title for the country was won by Margie Moran-Floirendo in 1973.
Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe 2015 during the coronation night held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, United States Sunday evening (Monday morning, Philippine time.).
Host Steve Harvey however committed a mistake when he announced that Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez is new Miss Universe, and Wurtzbach was first runner-up.
Harvey came forward to apologize for the gaffe just as the Colombian candidate was waving to fans to acknowledge their cheers.
Star World, which covered the contest live, stopped airing the event after Harvey had apologized. (MindaNews)