A few days before her victory party as the reigning sexiest Pinay of FHM, Sam Pinto finds herself facing an intrigue.
"Bumili ka raw ng boto?"
In an exclusive phone interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at around 8:30 p.m. today, July 8, the usually placid actress makes no effort to hide her irritation.
"Na-stress ako sa rumor na ito. Where did it come from?" she begins.
The minute she learned about it through Twitter, she felt bad for the fans who tirelessly and wholeheartedly supported her during the voting period, which ran from April 2 until June 15.
She adds, "I know they worked hard for this. They would tell me, ’Naubos ang load ko... Na-cut ang phone ko....’ I did not give money!"
But she’s vocal about giving gifts— which, she says, is the suggestion of her avid supporters.
The Kapuso leading lady relates, "I agreed to their suggestion. Yung mga gifts na ito, it came from my sponsors. Mga San Miguel shirts and fan signs... If they buy the magazine, they get a shirt. Kasi yung ballots this year, dapat bumili ka talaga ng FHM.
"I campaigned sa Twitter and fan page..."
Then with more emphasis, she repeats, "But I did not give money so I can win!"
How about the liquor brand she’s endorsing? According to tittle-tattle, it allotted budget for the FHM survey.
Her reply: "Ang alam ko yung sa Facebook fan page at yung mga gifts... But you know, fans pa rin ang, e, ang magde-decide.
"Kaya whoever started this, it’s just so unfair. Nung nalaman ng nanay ko, pati siya na-stress... So, I felt that I should clarify things."
Why is the sexiest Pinay title important to her?
"When I won last year, I saw what happened to me... People know me more, and dumami yung endorsements ko, I had 4 yata... Kaya it really, really helped my career," she replies.
Next year though, while the distinction of being the first Pinay to win the title three years in a row is appealing, Sam said in a previous interview, “Don’t worry, hindi na ako masyadong lalaban next year!”
This time, she declares, "Tapos na ang ang laban..." But her fate in 2013, she says, will still be up to the fans.
"If I’ll have my way, why not?" quips the 22-year-old star, who’s also not discounting the possibility that competition is bound to become more stiff.
And if she’ll also have her way, she wants to shun these "kaka-stress" issues.
She says, "I have no idea ba’t laging lumalapit ang mga controversies... but they say, publicity, good or bad, is still publicity.
"If the issue is not true, I’ll be fine. Then it’s okay. I know the truth naman... Meron lang mga hindi ma-tolerate, like this one. Nakakairita itong isyu na ito!"
MOVING ON... But Sam wants to put this behind her and just focus on her preparations for the victory party on July 12.
What can the people expect?
"Last year, maraming na-disappoint kasi balot na balot daw yung suot," she says, referring to the quite-demure corset she wore in 2011.
But Popo Go is designing a "more revealing" outfit this year.
Sam assures, "It’s gonna be way better than last year."