Actress Aiko Melendez has come out to defend Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi following her early exit at the 71st edition of the pageant.
Note that prior, the Philippines were enjoying a 12-year semis streak in the pageant.
A news item deemed it the "End of an era."
On Facebook, Aiko expressed support for Celeste.
She wrote: "Una, gusto ko lang pong palakpakan ang ating kandidata, Celeste Cortesi, sa napakagandang performance na binigay nya representing our beautiful country in the 71st Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. Dear Celeste, you represented well and you deserve a bigger love not just from me but from all of your countrymen as well. Bravo,! Napakaganda mo at napahusay ng performance na pinakita mo."
Then she called out those responsible for the news item.
Aiko related: "Do we really need to kick a woman down and rub salt to her wound? Para kasing sinasabi na “malas” si Ms. Cortesi, at least that’s how it got to me."
She advised: "Huwag naman po ganyan. She went to the pageant as a proud delegate from the Philippines and we rallied behind her bearing the name of our country across her chest. Hindi po porket hindi pinalad, we will be this harsh to crush her already wounded spirit."
The actress encouraged her followers to show Celeste the same love that was showered on her when she joined the competition.
"And embrace her efforts representing, not just herself, but also our nation, in this heavy weight beauty competition," Aiko said. "She did well and she deserves a good pat on the back."
"Mabuhay ka, Ms. Philippines Celeste Cortesi! You did well. Stand proud and come home bearing that beautiful smile on your face. Don’t let anyone take that smile away from you."