One week after the controversial conclusion of Mister Philippines Australia 2015, Co-Director Lalaine Diez finally broke her silence regarding the male pageant’s tabulation blunder. The competition was held last 24 October at the Moonlight Reception. Diez was eventually removed as Co-Director which according to Liza Di Blasio was due to “irreconcilable differences in management.” Di Blasio did not elaborate although discussions in the social media and public comments centred on incorrect tabulation. Parents and supporters posted their dissatisfaction online blaming the organisers and the choice of judges.
“I want to apologise for what happened and I know I am responsible for that,” Diez told The Philippine Times in an interview today, 1 November 2015. “I just feel bad that the Director, Liza Di Blasio has not seen the final results yet which I am holding now and she already talked to the media and commented negative things on Facebook. We agreed that we would meet first then make announcement afterwards. But it did not happen.”
Diez said that on the night she took the result of the winner and the first runner-up and luckily there were no issues on the tally sheets. The tabulator, she added, made the mistakes in the result of the other three candidates. They announced the Second Runner-up as Dave Espanola, Third Runner-up as Ben Hitchcock and Fourth Runner-up as Paul John Evenden. After re-calculation, the correct winners should be: Second Runner-up- Ben Hitchcock; Third Runner-up- Paul John Evenden, and Fourth Runner-up- Dave Espanola.
Diez said the tabulator also accepted she made a mistake and apologised but she wish people stop bashing her as she was simply trying to help. After a major surgery, the tabulator took time to assist in the event. For some reasons, mistakes happened and Diez said the bashing should stop.
“I really feel bad something happened and I’m part of the committee. But I am willing to correct and even sit down to discuss. But they went on Facebook and hit me,” she added. “As you can see, I never posted anything bad on Facebook but they immediately went online to bash me saying I rigged the competition. I did not.” She said she is willing to show to everyone the tally result of the judging and even provided copies of the result to The Philippine Times.
In due time, the judges who were later questioned would issue a statement as Diez said, they too felt bad about the public criticisms. Diez defended the judges saying they are all qualified to judge and respected individuals in their own fields. She is requesting that the public spare the judges from bashing as they don’t deserve it.
Meanwhile, Diez said she will remain quiet and calm and will not resort to public bashing online because she believes it is not the proper venue. She is willing to sit down with the Mister Philippines Australia team and even be open for investigation and audit of bank statements.
Di Blasio said a special program will be held to award the rightful winners. A special meeting will be held this 3 November 2015, 3pm at the Lagerfield Bar in Crown Casino for the candidates and their parents.
See related story: “Tabulation blunder mars Mr Philippines Australia 2015”
(Photos by Ben Magkase)
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