The Disappeared

Maria Venus Raj A beauty queen from the Philippines who was expected to represent the country in the Miss Universe contest lost her crown after officials established that her father, who hails from India, was not married to her mother, a local paper said. "On March 29, Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc, (BPCI) decided with a heavy heart to let Maria VR go after the organization discovered inconsistencies [with] her birth records, in contrast to her personal account of her birth," BCPI public relations manager Genny Marcial told the Star. Her birth certificate showed that she hailed from Camarines Sur in Bicol, south Luzon, and her father was registered as a Catholic Filipino. The birth certificate was filed three years after her birth. Her mother's cousin who worked at the government-run Civil Registrar's Office was behind the fabrication, said Marcial. The fabrication was discovered "accidentally" by authorities after she was crowned a beauty queen. Raj and her mother both said she was born in Doha, Qatar.

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