Lauro Gonzales, a self-styled prophet who now calls himself Kristong Hari (Jesus King) performs a prayer with his followers ‘for the end times’ in the Quiapo district of Manila in the Philippines. Photograph: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Has the passage of the bill been connected to the results of the Miss Universe beauty pageant? The first runner-up finish of Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Janine Tugonon was the main topic of conversation in the taxi queue. Everyone in line agreed that Miss Philippines should have won, not only because she was the most beautiful finalist but also because she had nailed the Q&A. She was, they added, superior in all respects to the candidate who won the title—a sentiment echoed by various politicians, ever eager to be mentioned in the media in any context.
If Miss Philippines never made it beyond “Thank you, girls”, this would not be an issue. If she had placed fourth or fifth, everyone would be pleased. But she had gotten within a hair of winning the Miss Universe crown, and that really stings. Mas masakit yung ‘muntik na’ kaysa sa ‘wala namang pag-asa’. “At least Miss Mexico wasn’t even in the finals,” somebody sniped, thus connecting the Miss Universe results to the outcome of the Pacquiao-Marquez match. This is Pinoy logic, which operates according to its own rules. “Maybe Miss Universe will get knocked up and be unable to fulfill her obligations, and the first runner-up will have to take over!” someone added.