MANILA — The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) on Saturday said that it is eyeing an all-woman panel composed of former Miss Universe title holders to serve as judges for the Philippine hosting of the pageant in January 30, 2017.
“Because it’s an anniversary show we’re looking at all formers or an all-woman panel. I definitely want a lot of title holders incorporated in the show,” MUO President Paula Shugart told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the Miss Universe kick off event in the Conrad Hotel Manila.
Asked of the possibility of President Rodrigo Duterte serving as judge for the prestigious beauty pageant, Shugart said that she “hasn’t heard anything about it” yet.
“(It’s going to) put a lot of pressure for him (President Duterte) to vote for Miss Philippines,” Shugart quipped.
“I don’t believe it ever happened before,” she said referring to having a head of state as part of the panel of judges for the pageant.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary Kat De Castro, in a press conference in Malacanang, previously expressed interest to have President Duterte play an important role in the pageant.
De Castro, however, said that it was a rule not to have a judge from the host country.
”I never said I was going to get the President to judge it (the pageant) but he’s invited to watch it. We can reserve seats for him. It’s up to him if he’s going to watch it,” De Castro clarified reports that it was already a proposal.
More or less 90 Miss Universe hopefuls are expected to meet President Duterte in a courtesy call on Jan. 23, 2017, six days before the coronation night, she added.
Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, meanwhile, expressed excitement anew that the pageant would be held in the Philippines after over 20 years. The Philippines already hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1974 and 1994.
In a separate interview, she said that even after she passed the crown to her successor, she would still have commitments past her reign.
”I’ll be working closely with Miss Universe after my reign. I’m going back to New York…A lot of my commitments go past my reign,” she said. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com