IF CamSur’s Ma. Venus Raj were a Cebuana, she could’ve done worse than landing only fourth runner-up in the last Miss Universe competition.

To Gloria Diaz, former Miss Universe, a Cebuana “can hardly speak English and Tagalog.” That would make Raj no better than a Cebuana in answering in English the judge’s question.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Gloria may be right, especially if the candidate isn’t as bright as one least expects from a woman so hot. But in advocating that a Filipina bet must speak in her native tongue to be understood, Gloria also insulted Cebuanos.

Had she done that on world stage in 1969, she probably would’ve been declared persona non grata by local legislators or her effigy stoned at SRP.

National stereotyping: caricature on TV depicting Cebu house-helpers as idiots who mouth in thick accent stupid lines fed by dysfunctional or brain-dead sitcom writers.

It’s not accent

But accent isn’t the villain; listen to GMA-7’s Mike Enriquez.

Diaz wasn’t referring to how Raj pronounced the words but the substance of what she said. What she did in Vegas (and critics didn’t leave there) involved intelligence, not phonetics.

That even worsens Diaz’s insult. She attacked Cebuanos’s ability to communicate in English and Tagalog, not how they enunciate vowels.

Diaz said she was taken out of context but, given the ABS-CBN interview transcript, one suspects a scoundrel taking the usual refuge. She could’ve just said she made a mistake.

As to our chance in future Miss Universe competitions, send only pretty and intelligent Pinays—or downsize expectations.

(paseares@yahoo.com/paseares@sun.star.com)